The reality of abused and neglected kids in the United States
Every year 3.3 million reports of child abuse are made in the United States involving nearly 6 million children (a report can include multiple children). Children are abused – physically attacked, emotionally damaged, sexually molested, or severely neglected – often by the people they have loved and trusted most. (2)
Many of these children become a part of the foster care system. In the system they will bounce from foster homes, group homes, institutional settings, attempted reunification in their parent’s homes and homes of extended family members for any number of their childhood years. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Child and Family Welfare, there are over 400,000 children in the foster care system in the United States today. (1)
In addition to the trauma that a young child experiences due to abuse or neglect, several foster care alumni studies show that without a lifelong connection to a caring adult, youth who spend a significant amount of time in foster care are left vulnerable to a host of adverse situations including dropping out of high-school, becoming a young parent, experiencing homeless, having no health insurance and receiving public assistance. (4) Fourteen percent of all men in prison in the United States were abused as children and 36% of all women in prison were abused as children. (7) Children who experience child abuse & neglect are 59% more likely to be arrested as a juvenile, 28% more likely to be arrested as an adult, and 30% more likely to commit violent crimes. (8) Perhaps most tragically, about 30% of abused and neglected children will later abuse their own children, continuing the horrible cycle of abuse. (7)
Royal Family KIDS is working to break the cycle of abuse in America.
1. Child Welfare Information Gateway. Available online at http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/factsheets/foster.cfm
2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau. (2011). Child Maltreatment 2010. Available from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/stats_research/index.htm#can.
3. Child Help http://www.childhelp.org/pages/statistics
4. Foster Care Alumni of America
5. Reilly, T. (00). Transition from care: Status and outcomes of youth who age out of foster care. Child Welfare, 82(6), 77-76.
6. American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry http://www.aacap.org/cs/root/facts_for_families/child_abuse_the_hidden_bruises
7. Harlow, C. U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs. (1999).Prior abuse reported by inmates and probationers (NCJ 172879) Retrieved from http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/parip.pdf
8. Long – Term Consequences of Child Abuse and Neglect. Child Welfare Information Gateway.Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2006.