Together We Can Strengthen Families & Prevent Child Abuse & Neglect
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. This month, and throughout the year, the Family Justice Resource Center focuses on strengthening families and preventing child maltreatment.
According to recently published statistics, just over 7 million U.S. children were referred to child protective services for concerns of abuse or neglect in 2020. Of that number, 618,000 children were found to be victims of maltreatment. (Source: Children’s Bureau Child Maltreatment Report 2020) The statistic that no one talks about is that 6,447,000 children—which is over 91% of those referred—were either screened out or had cases that were unsubstantiated. This fact needs to be a nationwide headline during National Child Abuse Prevention Month.
Every individual and organization entrusted with protecting children ought to be deeply concerned with the remarkable ineffectiveness of the current approaches used to detect child maltreatment. While it is widely stated that the child protection system is overburdened, the truth is that much of that burden is a direct result of institutional failure. The best way to honor National Child Abuse Prevention Month is to dedicate ourselves to promoting child protection practices that keep children safe from all harm—whether that harm comes from a caregiver or as a consequence of a broken system. We believe that policies must be redesigned to quickly identify wrongful abuse and neglect allegations that result from false reports, socioeconomic struggles, accidental injuries, and medical conditions. Out of the 7,065,000 children referred to child protective services in 2020, 1,750 died from that abuse or neglect. Many of these children would be alive today if critical resources were not routinely misappropriated to pursuing wrongful allegations.