State Policies Addressing Child Abuse and Neglect

10/28/2015

group of youth photoEvery year in the United States, hundreds of thousands of children are victims of child abuse and neglect. Often collectively referred to as child maltreatment, abuse and neglect are generally defined as the actions or omissions of a parent or caregiver that result in serious harm to a child.

One-in-four children experience child abuse or neglect at some point in his or her life. The consequences of abuse and neglect are long term and pervasive: Children who are victims are more likely to engage in risky behaviors as adolescents and experience poor health status into adulthood, including substance abuse, depression, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Child abuse and neglect are largely pre­ventable, however, and there are ways to minimize these burdens to both the child and community.

Many public health advocates, community leaders and policymakers are implementing successful approaches to prevent child abuse and neglect. This paper outlines proven strategies and highlights promising and innovative solutions. Some of these strategies have also proven to be a positive investment for states—reducing costs in other health and human service programs down the line.

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