BLANK CHILDREN'S HOSP/SAFE KID
Child Abuse and Neglect Costs Nation over $100 Billion per Year;
WASHINGTON, DC - An economic impact analysis released today estimates the costs of child abuse and neglect to society were nearly $104 billion last year, and a companion report highlights the unavailability of federal child welfare funding for programs and services shown to be effective at reducing incidences of child abuse and neglect.
Total Estimated Cost of Child Abuse and Neglect in the United States, by Prevent Child Abuse America (PCAA) and Time for Reform: Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect, by Kids Are Waiting (KAW), a project of The Pew Charitable Trusts, show that while the economic costs associated with child abuse and neglect rose to a staggering $103.8 billion in 2007, merely ten percent of federal money dedicated for child welfare, approximately $741.9 million, can currently be used to prevent child abuse and neglect from occurring by strengthening families.
The PCAA report documents pervasive and long-lasting effects of child abuse on children, their families, and society as a whole. The $103.8 billion cost of child abuse and neglect includes more than $33 billion in direct costs for foster care services, hospitalization, mental health treatment, and law enforcement. Indirect costs of over $70 billion include loss of productivity, as well as expenditures related to chronic health problems, special education, and the criminal justice system.
"Prevention of child abuse and neglect makes sense - and makes 'cents,' too," said PCA America President & CEO Jim Hmurovich. "The data in these reports show that a greater focus on prevention will decrease both the short and long-term costs to society."
Iowa state spending on preventing child abuse is also much less. The Iowa DHS budget includes more than $300 million to pay for out-of-home placement, in-home services costs, and child welfare staffing. In contrast, Iowa invests only $2 million in statewide child abuse prevention programs.
"Investing more in preventing abuse from ever occurring will make the lives of children better but also reduce huge costs for Iowa," says Steve Scott, executive director of Prevent Child Abuse Iowa. His organization is seeking more state funding for child sexual abuse prevention programs and for education about preventing the shaking/slamming of infants.
"Child abuse remains one of the four leading causes of death and injury to children younger than four years of age. Without adequate funding for prevention of child abuse, millions of children will continue to face violence and emotional neglect with life long consequences. The only permanent solution for this national tragedy is to invest in prevention programs," said Rizwan Shah, MD, FAAP, medical director of the Regional Child Protection Center at Blank Children's Hospital.
(Contact: Stephen Scott, Prevent Child Abuse Iowa, 515-244-2200, firstname.lastname@example.org; Jennifer Perry, Blank Children’s Hospital, 515-241-5283 or 515-205-6090, email@example.com)