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Office of Neuroscience Research > WUSTL Neuroscience News > 1 in 3 children investigated for abuse/neglect by 18

1 in 3 children investigated for abuse/neglect by 18

From the WUSTL Newsroom...

The first academic study to estimate the cumulative lifetime risk of a child maltreatment investigation, completed by researchers at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, reveals that 37 percent of U.S. children prior to their 18th birthday are the subject of an investigated child neglect and abuse report — and 53 percent of black children.

“This study provides the first definitive answer to a question that has been asked by researchers for decades,” said Hyunil Kim, PhD student in social work and lead author of the study, Lifetime Prevalence of Investigating Child Maltreatment Among US Children, to be published in the January issue of the American Journal of Public Health. It was released online Dec. 20.

“That question is, ‘Why do retrospective reports of child maltreatment yield far higher estimates than official count of maltreatment reports?’ The answer is that they don’t,” Kim said. “The estimates from these different sources are actually very close — if you look at investigations across the entire lifespan.”

The research team examined reports of abuse and neglect that were investigated. The study includes all Child Protective Services maltreatment investigations, rather than only substantiated investigations, and provides the first type-specific estimates: neglect, physical, sexual and emotional abuse.

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