An estimated 3.3 million reports of possible cases of child abuse and neglect were made to state child protective services (CPS) agencies in the United States in 2010, a number unchanged from 2009. According to the study, Child Maltreatment 2010, released this month (December 2011) by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), less than two-thirds (60.7%) – 2.003 million reports -- were accepted by CPS for an investigation or assessment, again the same number of reports as tallied in 2009. Of those reports screened in, the 2010 data analysis shows that 436,321 reports were substantiated; the study identifies "the number of nationally estimated unique victims" at 695,000

It is worth noting that almost 10 percent (9.7%) of referrals made to CPS for an assessment were referred to an alternative response for services rather than a formal investigation and finding of maltreatment – a total of 331,204 children. Of the 14 states submitting data on referrals to an alternative response, ten states (KY, MN, MO, NC, OK, TN, VA, VT, WA, and WY) counted significantly greater numbers receiving an alternative response than those investigated reports found to be substantiated allegations.

Three-quarters of victims (75.0%) had no history of prior victimization, the same each year since 2006. Virtually none of the investigations showed to be instances of intentionally false reports. The number of child victims of maltreatment has continued to decrease in recent years, down from 702,000 children who were found to be victims of child abuse and neglect in 2009 and 772,000 in 2008.

In 2010, more than half the states (29) reported a decreased number of victims when compared to 2009. According to the study, the decrease may be attributed to several factors, including a decrease in the number of children who received a CPS response and an increase in the number of states with alternative response dispositions. For example, one state had an approximately 30 percent decrease (about 10,000 unique victims) in the number of reported victims due to the implementation of an alternative response program.

Among the children confirmed as victims by CPS agencies in 2010, almost one-half of all victims were white (44.8%), 21.9 percent were African-American, and 21.4 percent were Hispanic. However, victims of African-American, American Indian or Alaska Native, and multiple racial descent had the highest rates of victimization at 14.6, 11.0, and 12.7 victims, respectively, per 1,000 children in the population of the same race or ethnicity.

The Child Maltreatment 2010 report compiles national data about child abuse and neglect known to CPS agencies in the United States, collected and analyzed through the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS). Data were received from all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. Child Victims

Each year, the child abuse and neglect reporting data confirm that the youngest children suffer the highest rate of victimization. Infants from birth to 1 year of age are the most vulnerable victims of abuse and neglect at the rate of 20.6 per 1,000 children of the same age group, representing 12.6 percent of all abuse and neglect victims. One-third (33.4%) of all victims of maltreatment were younger than 4 years old. The overall rate of victimization is inversely related to a child's age. Victimization was split almost evenly between the sexes; 48.2 percent of victims were boys and 51.1 percent of the victims were girls.

Risk Factors

CPS agencies are hampered by their inability to obtain accurate counts of the various risk factors occurring in child maltreatment.

Children reported in 2010 as having a disability as a risk factor accounted for 16 percent of victims. However, children with such a risk factor in general are undercounted, as not every child receives a clinical diagnostic assessment from CPS agency staff.

According to Child Maltreatment 2010, 25.7 percent of child victims had a caregiver either the perpetrator or victim of domestic violence. These reported percentages are considerably below the co-occurrence of child maltreatment and domestic violence identified in multiple research findings at 30 to 60 percent of child abuse and neglect cases.

Fewer states reported data on the alcohol and drug abuse caregiver risk factors. Eleven percent of victims were reported with the alcohol abuse caregiver risk factor and 18.0 percent of victims were reported with the drug abuse caregiver risk factor. It is important to note that some States are not able to differentiate alcohol abuse and drug abuse for some or all children.


The number of reported child fatalities due to child abuse and neglect has fluctuated during the past 5 years. An estimated 1,560 children died in 2010 as a result of abuse or neglect compared with 1,750 children for 2009. The national fatality rate per 100,000 children in the population was 2.07 for 2010 compared with a rate of 2.32 for 2009, and 1.96 in 2005. Almost one-third (32.6%) of child fatalities were attributed exclusively to neglect. Just over 40 percent (40.8%) were caused by multiple maltreatment types. Several states that reported fewer child fatalities for 2010 than in previous years, provided explanations for the decrease, including system improvements that reduced case backlog and successful prevention programs that explained the dangers of co-sleeping, unsecured medications and weapons, and unsupervised pool or other water play.

The most endangered are the youngest: almost half (47.7%, up from 42.2% in 2007) of all fatalities were children younger than 1 year and more than three-quarters of children who were killed (79.4%) were younger than 4 years of age. Fatality rates for all children decreased with the age of the child.

Some deaths may not come to the attention of CPS. Reasons for this include if there are no surviving siblings in the family or if the child had not been the recipient of child welfare services. To expand the knowledge base of the actual number of child fatalities, states are increasingly consulting other data sources such as vital statistics departments and child death review teams for additional information on deaths attributed to child maltreatment.

Types of Maltreatment

Four-fifths (78.3%) of unique victims were neglected, 17.6 percent were physically abused, 9.2 percent were sexually abused, 8.1 percent were psychologically maltreated, and 2.4 percent were medically neglected. In addition, 10.3 percent of victims experienced such "other" types of maltreatment as "abandonment," "threats of harm to the child," or "congenital drug addiction."


In 2010, professionals submitted three-fifths of all reports of alleged abuse or neglect – individuals who had contact with the alleged victim through their work, such as teachers, police officers, lawyers, social workers, medical staff, mental health workers, child daycare workers, and foster care providers. State laws require most professionals to notify CPS of suspected maltreatment. Remaining reports were made by nonprofessionals: parents and other relatives, friends, neighbors, sports coaches, alleged victims, and anonymous callers.

The three largest percentages of professional report sources were teachers (16.4%), lawyers or police officers (16.7%), and social services staff (11.5%). Professionals have reported more than one-half of all reports for the past 5 years. The percentage of professionals submitting reports has increased slightly each year since 2006.

Nonprofessionals submitted 27.7 percent of reports. Anonymous sources (9.0%), other relatives (7.0%), parents (6.8%), and friends and neighbors (4.4%), accounted for nearly all of the nonprofessional reporters. The percentage of nonprofessionals who submitted reports has fluctuated slightly since 2006.

The report source distributions also were examined by type of CPS response. The percentage distributions remained consistent regardless of whether the response was an alternative response or an investigation response.

Treatment and Prevention Services

States continue to be hard pressed to treat children or protect them from further harm – almost two-fifths of child victims (38.8%) received no services following a substantiated report of maltreatment. The services extended to child victims and their families include individual counseling, family support, in-home services, mental health services, substance abuse services, and foster care services. The high number of abused and neglected children without services remains particularly troubling when the youngest children had the highest victimization rate.

By the HHS data count of CPS cases, preventive services were provided to some 3.4 million children. Preventive services to parents whose children are at-risk of abuse or neglect are designed to increase the understanding of the developmental stages of childhood and to improve child-rearing competencies, with such services as respite care, parenting education, housing assistance, substance abuse treatment, daycare, and individual and family counseling.

  • Assessment Services – Upon referral, the social work staff immediately begins a multi-dimensional Initial Needs Assessment, which includes contacting the referral source, meeting with the family in their home to see the children, and interviewing family members to understand the family history. Based on this information, a short-term treatment plan is developed with the family, which is reviewed every other month.
  • Weekly Home Visits – Parent Aides visit their assigned families weekly and spend an average of two to six hours per week with them. They may spend more time with the family if there is a crisis situation.
  • Teen Parent/Maternal Infant Care – The Crisis Parent Aide will make appointments and take the pregnant mothers to prenatal visits. They will then provide Home Visits focused on the Maternal/Infant bond and general parenting skills needed from infancy through the stages of life to follow. Parent Aides spend 2 -4 hours per week with them, more if needed.
  • Crisis Parent Aide Services – Several types of crisis parent aide services are provided: the Crisis Parent Aide program, the Hispanic Crisis Parent Aide program and the Family Enrichment Program (For DCF clients only).
  • Emergency Services can be provided such as arranging for basic needs like food, clothing, shelter, housing, medical and dental care, along with transportation when needed.
  • Parenting Education and skill enhancement service – this service includes training in age appropriate expectations, child development, nutrition and discipline techniques.
  • Skill Enhancement Services, including communication skills, anger management, positive parenting, budgeting, domestic violence education, and child development education.
  • Personal Growth Services to help families assess the positive and negative influences in their lives, and assist them to find professional support, sobriety and mind, body, and spiritual wellness alternatives, while building self-worth and recognizing achievements and progress.
  • Substance Abuse Services – Specially-trained Crisis Parent Aides provide a more intensive relationship with their families and work closely with LMG Substance Abuse Facilities and the Families in Recovery Program to develop a more collaborative effort to help parents achieve sobriety. As we're all aware, substance abuse dramatically heightens the level of risk to children for abuse and neglect.
  • Bilingual Community Services – Since our inception, we have recognized the growing need in our community to work with this especially isolated segment of the Stamford population. Three Spanish speaking and one Creole-speaking crisis parent aides provide translation services and links to community programs in a culturally appropriate manor. Most of these parents grew up in a culture where domestic violence is accepted. These families are in crisis due to child abuse and other family violence issues, cultural and language isolation, and lack of integration into programs of education and with the wider community.
  • Services for Families With Special Needs – These services are provided to clients with diagnosed mental illnesses such as schizophrenia or depression (suicide); physical illnesses such as AIDS, cancer, lupus, MS, dwarfism and hearing impairments; circumstances such as the developmental disabilities of a parent or child; families with immigration or cultural isolation issues; families where sexual abuse has occurred; families where children are being returned from foster care, adolescent parents; and families where domestic violence issues create a danger to children.
  • Crisis Response Services - The task of the Crisis Parent Aide is to work with families considered to be at high risk. They provide immediate services to newly referred families to stabilize the crisis situation, and to prepare the family for self-sufficiency and continuing services. These services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in English, Spanish and Creole.
  • Waiting List Support Services – Emergency services are available for families waiting for a social worker. Because of the recent expansion in referrals, waiting families attend one of the Center's parenting education groups. Often, in the interim, these families are provided with food, clothing and other basic needs.
  • Referral/Case Management Services – The Center's location at Franklin Commons in Stamford, as well as its participation in a collaborative model of service provision, allows the Center to facilitate the referral process for its families among many agencies. The Center is a member of the local System of Care, and works with other team members to best serve families. The Center is also affiliated with many state and local resources, which enable it to turn to a number of collaborative partner agencies to best serve each family.
  • Supervised Visitation Services – This is one of the only programs of its kind in the greater Stamford area. This program provides supervised visitation for families where a child has been removed from a family due to abuse/neglect, and the family is undergoing treatment, hoping to have the child returned from foster care. Referrals for this program come from the State Department of Children and Families, who refer families where abuse has already taken place; and the local Court, who refer families where there is abuse, or there is a risk for abuse, due to divorce or domestic violence.
  • Nurturing Parenting Groups – This program uses a variety of tools to help parents and children increase empathy for each other, build family morals and values, praise desirable behavior, teach appropriate discipline without violence, explore choices and consequences, and encourage positive family learning experiences. We currently serve between 48-65 families annually in these groups.
  • School Based Parent Leadership Training Workshops – This program offers a series of workshops that teach from the ASPIRA curriculum as well as from the Developing Capable People curriculum. The Center offers two classes, one during the day and one in the evening, for three ten-week sessions. They serve 15 families each class, with a focus on parent leadership both at their child's school and in the community. Parents that graduate and have learned to be leaders begin their own groups in the community and get involved with the school's parent/teachers association in order to continue their civic duty. Families are also trained to work with their children on behavior issues, attendance, academic achievement, college preparation, and effective relationships with teachers and administrators. It is offered in five schools in our catchment area at this time, serving 87 families.
  • The Parent Program – This program works with parents of high risk teens and helps them learn how to teach their children social and communication skills, tutor them, improve their grades and attendance in school. It helps them to focus on their children's futures by helping them create a vision for themselves (i.e. college or technical schools) and prevents teen violence with anger management and gang prevention education. This program is provided in collaboration with the youth service bureau, alternative schools and the office of probation for juveniles. This program is conducted in group format.
  • Urban Women Against Substance Abuse (UWASA) – is a school-based program targeting Puerto Rican, Latina, African-American, and Caribbean-American girls (ages 9-11) and their female caregivers. The goal of UWASA is to teach girls to build their cultural and gender identity, discourage alcohol and drug use, promote HIV awareness, and explore possible career options.
  • Cultural and Religious Sensitivity – Social workers help families to foster personal control and responsibility for their own lives, and the lives of their children, within the framework of their cultural and religious heritage. Social workers respond appropriately to diversity, and teach families more adaptive behaviors which are consistent with their culture, but will also help them adapt in their broader social environment.
  • Masters and Bachelors Level Internship Training and Volunteer Program – We receive Social Work Interns from Columbia University, UCONN, Fordham University, Sacred Heart University, University of Bridgeport, Norwalk and Springfield College. We also have a pool of volunteers who serve as home based service providers.