U.S. Leads Developed World in Child Abuse Death Rate

Tuesday, October 18, 2011
The United States leads the developed world in child-abuse deaths, according to the organization Every Child Matters. More than 20,000 American children have died over the past decade in their own homes because of family members, with about 75% being under four years of age and nearly half being under one. The U.S. child-maltreatment death rate is three times higher than Canada’s and 11 times that of Italy.
The group attributes this unfortunate record to a number of factors, including the U.S.’s higher rates of teen pregnancy, dropping out of high school, violent crimes, imprisonment and poverty. In addition, Americans are less likely than citizens of other rich countries to have easy access to social services such as child care, parental leave and health insurance. Some observers also blame the well-intended, but often tragic emphasis in the United States on keeping families together even if a child may be in danger.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky

America's Child Death Shame (by Michael Petit, Every Child Matters) 


Tom 7 years ago
Has anybody considered that it could be that a much larger portion of people approve of, and the state governments allow, significantly more violent forms of corporeal punishment than other countries do? I don't know of any other countries in the Western world that permit parents to brandish belts, paddles, etc. against children all the way from 2-17 years of age. It doesn't seem like much of a stretch that such actions could get out hand very easily.
Joyce 11 years ago
oh hell... my mother nearly killed me a few times, and beat me as often as possible. she was smart enough to mask her brutality from others. as a child, i kept waiting to be rescued but that time never came. i never told anyone because she gave me a beating at the age of five, and assured me that more would be forthcoming if i broke that rule.
Tesla 12 years ago
quibbling over policy particulars and finger pointing is irrelevant to the fact that a hell of a lot people kill children.
WB Offutt 12 years ago
i do not mean to refute mr wexler's basic point (because i don't have his data in front of me). however, the plan of keeping children in the families where the parents have gotten into trouble is a much cheaper option for states and counties compared with paid foster or residential care. especially so since no similar investment is made to upgrade parenting skills, providing continuity or safety of shelter, and other basic requirements of foster homes. i am afraid his arguments will be a way for some county or state executive to cheap out on family support so local governments can cut taxes. alternatively the rise in children and care could well be a contributing factor to the decline in child abuse. in the last couple of years the financial stress on families, loss of jobs, stagnant incomes, huge loss of medical benefits, inflation, cuts in local services etc. have put massive stresses on families, and the huge jump in children in care is a natural lagging indicator of familial financial stresses. because cps tends have a voterless clientele, their effectiveness tends to be relatively unimportant to the press, and so we can count on a good many errors. obviously keeping kids safe from the start in their families, even with relatives is the very best, but we have to keep families safe, including the (costly) therapies required to keep them together. this matter is obviously not handled well in shrill sound bites.
Richard Wexler 12 years ago
the “observers” (actually one observer seen in the bbc program that is the basis for this post) who “blame the well-intended, but often tragic emphasis in the united states on keeping families together even if a child may be in danger” is wrong. for starters, there is no such emphasis. on the contrary, in most states the guiding philosophy can be boiled down to “take the child and run.” in texas, for example, where the bbc program takes place, the number of children torn from their homes soared 26 percent in 2010 over the year before. and while actual child abuse in this country peaked in 1993, entries into care nationwide kept on escalating all the way through 2006, declining very little since. what really causes tragedies like those described in the bbc program is inundating workers with false allegations trivial cases and cases in which family poverty is confused with “neglect.” not only does that do terrible harm to the children needlessly taken, it also steals workers time from finding children in real danger. that also explains why the few states that really do try to keep families together also are among the national leaders at keeping children safe. the bbc program only encourages more of the same failed approach that caused so much tragedy in the first place. but unlike most american news organizations, the bbc has a formal process for filing complaints of bias. we have filed such a complaint with the bbc. it also is available on our website here: http://bit.ly/ptok3m richard wexler executive director national coalition for child protection reform www.nccpr.org
JMR 12 years ago
mr petit goes around waving pictures of children including logan marr, who died as a result of policies instituted by mr petit and his successors in maine's dhs. further ecm goes around spouting incorrect data and making what are racist statements. the nccpr has documented this in their blog.
RJP 12 years ago
. . . this is because cps dose not remove abused children, they take the one from loving homes instead, then put them in an environment where the abuse rate is 14 times higher then in the general public!

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