NCSL December 2013 Child Welfare Newsletter

NCSL Child Welfare Legislative Policy Network Newsletter



During this session, NCSL identified 296 child welfare-related bills enacted in 44 states. Visit the website.
These included the following topic areas:

  • Administration/Oversight/Interagency Collaboration
  • Adoption
  • Child Fatality and Near Fatality
  • Child Protection
  • Courts
  • Education of Children in Foster Care
  • Foster Care
  • Fostering Connections Act
  • Funding of Child Welfare Services
  • Infant Abandonment
  • Kinship Care
  • Prevention/Treatment/Training
  • Reporting
  • Services for Older Youth
  • Shaken Baby Syndrome Prevention
  • Termination of Parental Rights
  • Tribes

Teen Pregnancy Among Youth in Foster Care

Teens in foster care are 2.5 times more likely to become pregnant by age 19 than their peers not in the system. Read the November 2013 LegisBrief, "Teen Pregnancy Among Youth in Foster Care," by Megan Comlossy to learn more about teen pregnancy among youth in foster care. Read the LegisBrief


“Individual Development Account (IDA)” are programs that are one tool for current and former foster youth to learn money management skills and to build assets to successfully move forward in life.
Read about Individual Development Accounts for Foster Youth


The number of children suffering abuse and maltreatment (confirmed victims of child abuse or neglect) has dropped nationwide for the sixth consecutive year. The national data was reported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families (ACF). Read the Child Welfare 2012 report

It includes the following statistics:

Child Abuse Reports

  • CPS agencies received an estimated 3.4 million referrals involving approximately 6.3 million children, an 8.3 percent increase since 2008
  • 2.1 million reports were screened in
  • An estimated 686,000 children were confirmed to be victims of child abuse or neglect

Child Fatalities

  • Child fatalities increased from 1,580 in 2011 to 1,640 in 2012
  • 70.3 percent were younger than 3 years old
  • Boys had a higher child fatality rate than girls
  • 38.3 percent of victims were White, 31.9 percent were African-American, and 15.3 percent were Hispanic
  • 80.0 percent were caused by one or both parents

Child Victims

  • 78.3 percent of victims were neglected
  • 18.3 percent were physically abused
  • 9.3 percent were sexually abused
  • 8.5 percent were psychologically maltreated
  • Victims in their first year of life had the highest rate of victimization at 21.9 per 1,000 children of the same age in the national population
  • Boys accounted for 48.7 percent and girls accounted for 50.9 percent of victims
  • The majority of victims were White (44.0 percent), Hispanic (21.8 percent) and African American (21.0 percent)
  • African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, and multiple race children had the highest rates of victimization at 14.2, 12.4, and 10.3 victims, respectively, per 1,000 children in the population

Child Abuse Alleged Perpetrators

  • 80.3 percent of the abusers were the victim’s parent
  • 6.1 percent were family members other than parents
  • 4.2 percent were unmarried partners of the victim’s parent
  • 3.1 percent of abusers had an “unknown” relationship with the victim
  • 4.6 percent were “other” that included siblings, victim’s boyfriend/girlfriend, stranger and babysitter
  • 0.5 percent represented foster parents, legal guardians, friends and neighbors


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