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June 2000Vol. 1, No. 4HHS Releases Child Maltreatment 1998 Statistics

New data from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting System (NCANDS) has recently been released by the Administration on Children, Youth and Families. This 9th annual publication covers 1998 statistics on child maltreatment reported by States in the following areas:

  • Preventive services
  • Referrals and reports
  • Child maltreatment victims
  • Services provided for child maltreatment victims
  • Perpetrators
  • Fatalities

The data on preventive services showed that 1,397,000 children (20 out of every 1,000 children in the population) received preventive services in 1998.

Under the category of referrals and reports, CPS workers transmitted approximately two-thirds of the estimated 2,806,000 referrals of possible child maltreatment for further investigation. Slightly fewer than one-third of these investigations resulted in a disposition of either "substantiated" or "indicated" child maltreatment. On annual average, CPS workers investigated and assessed 94 cases each during 1998.

Child maltreatment victims numbered 903,000 nationwide. Equivalent to a rate of 12.9 per 1,000 children, this demonstrated a decrease from the 1997 rate of 13.9. Over half of all victims suffered from neglect and the most victimized children were in the 0-3 age group. African-American children had the highest maltreatment rates, followed by American Indians/Alaska Natives, Hispanics, Whites, and Asian/Pacific Islanders.

Data on supplemental services provided for child maltreatment victims showed that 409,000 child victims and 211,000 subjects of unsubstantiated reports received postinvestigative services. An estimated 144,000 child victims were placed in foster care. Victims were more likely to receive additional services if they came from families with financial problems, were prior victims, and were victims of multiple incidents of maltreatment.

Slightly more than 60 percent of perpetrators were female. One or both parents were the most likely perpetrators, abusing about 87 percent of all victims. Children who suffered physical and sexual abuse were more likely to be maltreated by a male parent acting alone. The most common pattern of maltreatment was a child neglected by a female parent with no other perpetrators identified.

Statistics concerning fatalities show that an estimated 1,100 children died of abuse and neglect, or a rate of approximately 1.6 deaths per 100,000 children in the general population. Children under 5 accounted for 77.5% of fatalities. Victims were most likely to be killed by caretakers younger than age 30, comprising two-thirds of perpetrators of fatalities. Less than 3% of all fatalities occurred while the victim was in foster care.

Additionally, some current research activities in conjunction with the NCANDS findings are summarized in this report. The appendices include State Advisory Group representatives, a data collection form, reporting requirements under the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act Amendments of 1996, summaries of State data, State comments, and supplementary data tables.

Copies of Child Maltreatment 1998: Reports from the States to the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (publication code #26-10058) are available free of charge from:

National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information
330 C Street, SW
Washington, DC 20447
Tel.: 800-394-3366
Fax: 703-385-3206

Related Items

A full-text version will soon be available on the Children's Bureau website at:

For a fact sheet on child abuse and neglect national statistics drawn from Child Maltreatment 1998, visit the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information website at (Note: this link is no longer available; however, more current information can be found at