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April 2008Vol. 9, No. 3HHS Releases National Statistics on Child Abuse and Neglect for 2006

According to data released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in Child Maltreatment 2006, an estimated 905,000 children were found to be victims of abuse or neglect in fiscal year (FY) 2006, representing a rate of 12.1 per 1,000 children in the population. The number and rate of victims has decreased since 2002, when there were an estimated 910,000 victims at a rate of 12.3 per 1,000 children.

Child Maltreatment 2006 is an annual report of data collected from the States' child protective services (CPS) agencies via the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System. The report provides national and State statistics on topics that include reports of abuse and neglect, children, fatalities, perpetrators, and services provided to children and families.

An estimated 3.3 million referrals were made to CPS agencies in 2006, involving the alleged maltreatment of approximately 6.0 million children. Agencies screened in 61.7 percent of the referrals for investigation or assessment; as a result, at least one child was found to be a victim of abuse or neglect in approximately 30 percent of those investigations or assessments. Over the past several years, the rate of all children who received an investigation or assessment has increased, from 43.8 per 1,000 children in 2002 to 47.8 in 2006.

Of the children who were abused or neglected in 2006:

  • 64.2 percent experienced neglect, 16.0 percent were physically abused, 8.8 percent were sexually abused, and 6.6 percent were emotionally or psychologically maltreated.
  • Children in the age group of birth to 1 year had the highest rate of victimization at 24.4 per 1,000 children of the same age group in the national population.
  • An estimated 1,530 children died from abuse or neglect, reflecting a rate of 2.04 deaths per 100,000 children.

In 2006, approximately 80 percent of perpetrators of child maltreatment were parents, with other relatives accounting for another 6.7 percent of perpetrators. Approximately one-fifth of victims (21.5 percent) were placed in foster care as a result of an investigation.

To download the full report on national and State statistics, visit the Children's Bureau website: