Child abuse and neglect in Ohio is a problem with many faces and many challenges. For children, the effects of abuse can have lasting impacts on their physical and mental health. That is why prevention is crucial — and is the sole focus of the Ohio Children’s Trust Fund.
These statistics help show the scope of the problem and why we must all continue efforts to strengthen families and prevent child abuse and neglect.
National Child Abuse and Neglect Statistics
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- 1 in 4 children are abused or neglected at some point in their lives.
- In 2016, 676,000 children were in child protective services because of abuse or neglect.
- In 2016, 1,750 children died because of abuse or neglect.
- The estimated average lifetime cost for child welfare, medical costs, criminal justice, special education, and lost productivity for victims of child abuse and neglect is $830,928 (in 2015 dollars).
- Overall lifetime economic burden to the United States based on 2015 substantiated incident cases resulting from child abuse and neglect was approximately $428 billion — more than stroke or Type 2 diabetes.
But the research cited indicated that prevention could outweigh the costs. (Peterson C, Florence CS, Klevens J. The economic burden of child maltreatment in the United States, 2015. Child Abuse Negl. 2015;86(2), 178-83.)
The Numbers in Ohio
Source: 2017 Factbook, Public Children Services Association of Ohio
- Ohio Population: 11,613,423
- Child Population: 2,628,477
- Number of children in custody per 1,000: 9
- Percent of children living in poverty: 23
- Number of grandparents raising grandchildren: 100,667
- 97,602 total children services reports
- 43,903 child abuse or neglect reports for traditional response
- 36,476 child abuse or neglect reports for alternative response
- 5,128 dependency reports
- 11,794 family in need of services reports
Types of Reports
- Physical Abuse — 29,659 / 30%
- Neglect — 25,098 / 26%
- Sexual Abuse — 9,040 / 9%
- Emotional Maltreatment — 1,301 / 1%
- Multiple Allegations of Abuse/Neglect — 13,827 / 14%
- Family in Need of Services/ Dependency/Other — 18,856 / 19%
- Total — 97,602 / 100%
Consequences of Child Abuse & Neglect
Abuse and neglect can cause damage to children’s physical, mental, and social development that affects the rest of their lives. According to research known as the ACE study, when a child has one or more adverse childhood experiences, such as abuse or neglect, the effects can include:
- Impacts on brain development that affects long-term functions
- Higher risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, liver disease, obesity, high blood pressure, chronic lung disease, high cholesterol
- Higher risk for mental health diagnoses
- Higher risk for learning disorders
- Higher risk for smoking, alcohol and substance abuse
- Higher risk of teen pregnancy
- Higher risk of juvenile delinquency and adult criminal behavior
If these children grow up to become parents themselves, these negative effects may turn into risk factors for abuse and neglect.
How Family Drug Abuse Affects Children
Although child abuse or neglect can affect any child or any family regardless of social or economic status, poverty and the opioid crisis in our state remain significant challenges to the physical and emotional well-being of children.
A 2015 survey showed that half of all children taken into custody by children’s services agencies were removed from their homes because their parents used drugs, and more than half of those children had parents who used heroin or other opioids. The problem has only increased since then.
The growing substance abuse epidemic in Ohio has led to a rising number of children living with grandparents or other relatives, also known as kinship care. An estimated 9 percent of children live in kinship care, but relatives may often struggle with issues such as child care, transportation, lack of support, or their own substance use.
When relatives are unable to care for children, children enter the foster care system.
How You Can Help
The mission of the Ohio Children’s Trust Fund is to provide resources to strengthen families so that child abuse and neglect can be prevented. When parents have support networks, resilience, and an understanding of their children’s behavior and needs, the result is healthier and safer environments for children.