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April 2009Vol. 10, No. 3Children's Hospitals Serving Maltreated Children

Children's hospitals provide valuable prevention and treatment services for maltreated children and those at risk of abuse. National surveys of children's hospitals conducted in 2005 and 2008 illustrate trends in child abuse care and patient services and document the extent and costs of these services.

Conducted by the National Association of Children's Hospitals and Related Institutions (NACHRI), the 2005 survey was the first to measure children's hospital services for child abuse and neglect. Release of the survey results was accompanied by a companion document, Defining the Children's Hospital Role in Child Maltreatment, which provided guidelines about services and resources for the prevention and treatment that children's hospitals could be expected to provide.

Three years later, the 2008 survey allowed NACHRI to compare results with the 2005 survey and identify some trends in these services and resources. In all, 140 children's hospitals in 41 States, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico responded to the 2008 survey. Key findings and trends included the following:

  • Sixty-seven percent reported an increase in child abuse caseloads by 2008, much of which was attributed to growing awareness in the community and higher visibility of the specialized services available.
  • Seventy percent reported an increase in staffing for child abuse services.
  • The majority of institutions reported that they underwrite the costs of child abuse services and receive partial or no reimbursement.
  • Sixty-three percent provide training to clinicians and community partners (in pediatrics, social work, law enforcement, child care, and other fields).
  • The number of institutions conducting research in child abuse and neglect increased from 2005 to 2008.

NACHRI plans to continue conducting surveys every 3 years to provide benchmark data, identify new trends, and develop case studies and profiles of programs.

To read NACHRI's full survey and report, visit the NACHRI website: