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April 2008Vol. 9, No. 3The Costs of Child Abuse and Neglect

A new study from Prevent Child Abuse America (PCAA) estimates the financial costs of child abuse and neglect in America in 2007 at almost $104 billion. The estimate includes more than $33 billion in direct costs, such as foster care, medical and mental health treatment, and law enforcement. Indirect costs comprise the remainder and include expenditures in such areas as special education, juvenile delinquency, long-term mental health care, criminal justice services, and loss of productivity.

While emphasizing the financial costs to society, the study's authors also note the long-term adverse outcomes for many children who experience abuse and neglect. These include an increased likelihood of poor physical and mental health, social and cognitive difficulties, participation in high-risk health behaviors, and other general behavior issues.

The report, Total Estimated Cost of Child Abuse and Neglect in the United States, by Ching-Tung Wang and John Holton, was released by PCAA with a companion report produced by the Pew Charitable Trust's Kids Are Waiting campaign. Time for Reform: Investing in Prevention: Keeping Children Safe at Home offers recommendations for government funding reforms that would increase the emphasis on prevention services and help to maintain children safely in their homes.

Total Estimated Costs of Child Abuse and Neglect in the United States: (PDF - 169 - KB)

Time for Reform: Investing in Prevention: Keeping Children Safe at Home: (PDF - 475 KB)