Hope on the Horizon

posted by Dr. James G. Hood
Tuesday, May 25, 2010

IS Study Offers Promising News and Insights into Child Maltreatment

February 12, 2010

Michael PirainoAs the chief executive officer of an organization dedicated to advocating for abused and neglected children, I am heartened by the recent findings of the Fourth National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect (NIS-4). The study found a 26% decline in the overall rate of maltreatment of children, including declines in physical and sexual abuse. The decrease is both real and large. Nothing could be more satisfying than to see the need for our advocacy eliminated through the eradication of all forms of maltreatment of children.

Nonetheless, more than 1.25 million children in the US were abused or neglected during the study year (2005-2006), and more than 750,000 foster children remain under the care and protection of the state due to abuse and neglect. Our celebration of the success of efforts to raise awareness of and prevent child maltreatment is tempered by the recognition that there is still a long way to go before all children are assured a safe, permanent home.

The NIS-4 study offers insights into where some of this renewed focus should begin, highlighting the clear connection between low economic status and child maltreatment. The current economic times add to the uncertainty about future maltreatment trends. The study found that factors such as unemployment and single family households correlate strongly with an increased risk of child maltreatment. Economic challenges add substantial stress to families, and are disproportionately experienced by families of color. If we are to bring child maltreatment rates down further, we in the field will need to partner even more diligently with communities of color, working to increase community engagement in child welfare and improving the support of parents so their children never need the protection of the state in the first place. The NIS-4 study gives hope that this can be done, and that children’s lives will be better.

The National CASA Association, together with our network of nearly 70,000 volunteer child advocates across the country, applauds the great progress that has been made in reducing rates of child maltreatment, and we further commit ourselves to helping keep this trend alive in the years ahead. We have much to celebrate, and much work still to do.

Because one maltreated child is one too many.
Michael Piraino, CEO
National CASA Association

(Article Courtesy of “Note from the CEO-National CASA – CASA for Children.” National CASA – Court Appointed Special Advocate Association – CASA for Children: Advocating for Abused and Neglected Children. Web. 25 May 2010. http://www.casaforchildren.org/site/c.mtJSJ7MPIsE/b.5798021/k.B267/Note_from_the_CEO.htm.)

If you’d like to look at the study itself, here’s the link:


One Response to “Hope on the Horizon”

  1. Georgene Bermingham says:

    Although I don’t agree with all that you have mentioned here, I should admit that I do admire your style of writing a great deal. Do you have a Twitter account I can follow?

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