Why Child Abuse Is at 10-Year Low ; Recent Improvement Is Linked to the Strong Economy and Programs Targeting Prevention

By Daniel B. Wood, writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, May 1, 2000 | Go to article overview

Why Child Abuse Is at 10-Year Low ; Recent Improvement Is Linked to the Strong Economy and Programs Targeting Prevention


Daniel B. Wood, writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


Four preschoolers push their bulging bean-bag chairs into a circle and sit down to read.

With one glance, it's clear that they come from different homes, different backgrounds, different worlds. Yet they've all come to this spare, quiet room on the west side of Los Angeles for the same reason: They're considered "at risk" of being abused or neglected.

The reasons can vary widely - from having parents who were victims of abuse themselves to simply coming from low-income households. While each of these kids fits that profile in one way or another, their presence here is a sign of hope.

That's because they're here in an effort to stop abuse before it starts.

Programs like this have played a key role in bringing the rate of child abuse and neglect to its lowest ebb in 10 years, experts say.

Moreover, their success reflects a deeper change in American culture, as society becomes less tolerant of violence against children - whether it be spanking to enforce discipline or striking out in anger. These shifting societal mores, coupled with money from the soaring economy, have created new momentum in the nation's fight against child abuse.

"From my perspective, the coast-to-coast network of child welfare has reached a point that is more hopeful for kids than ever," says Michael Kharfen, communications director for the US Department of Health and Human Services, which released new statistics last month.

Health and Human Services (HHS) reports that cases of neglected and abused children fell for the fifth straight year in 1998.

Many factors have contributed to the drop. For one, the decline in the number of people on welfare and record-low unemployment have had an impact, as have strides made in combating substance abuse. There has also been growth in the number of programs aimed at prevention, from teen pregnancy to those created for "at risk" kids.

Still, the current statistical decline is modest, many observers note. In 1998, about 903,000 children were found to be victims of maltreatment, down 11 percent from a 10-year high of 1.02 million in 1993. Yet the 1998 figure is still higher than numbers from 1990, in which 877,000 cases were reported.

"It is wonderful that these numbers are declining, but the remaining statistics are still way too high," says Steven Ambrose, vice president of programs for Children's Institute International, which offers child-assistance services. "And there remains a tremendous amount of unreported abuse, although the decline is probably connected to those numbers as well."

Rise of neglect

In the decade reflected by these statistics, nearly 1 in 4 of the reported cases concerned physical abuse. But that ratio is shrinking, with more children becoming victims of neglect, which includes problems such as emotional deprivation, diminished educational opportunity, and inadequate nourishment.

"Abuse is more noticeable as a bruise or broken arm, but we also have to think of neglect as abusive," says Anita Bach, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services. "In a way, this is harder because we have to focus on so many other intangibles that have to do with quality of life."

But she and others say the signs are positive. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Why Child Abuse Is at 10-Year Low ; Recent Improvement Is Linked to the Strong Economy and Programs Targeting Prevention
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.