• July/August 2001
  • Vol. 2, No. 4

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Calculating the Costs of Child Maltreatment

Prevent Child Abuse America has estimated the costs of child abuse and neglect based on data from a variety of sources, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Justice, and U.S. Census.

The analysis considers two categories of costs:

  • Direct costs, or those associated with the immediate needs of abused or neglected children
  • Indirect costs, or those associated with the long-term and/or secondary effects of child abuse and neglect.

The total of direct costs is estimated at $24,384,347,302 annually. This figure was arrived at by adding the costs of the following: hospitalization, chronic health problems, mental health care system, child welfare system, law enforcement, and judicial system.

The total of indirect costs is estimated at $69,692,535,227 annually. This figure includes costs of special education, mental health and health care, juvenile delinquency, lost productivity to society, and adult criminality.

Combining these figures, the report concludes that the estimated annual cost of child abuse is $94,076,882,529.

According to Prevent Child Abuse America, this brief analysis "represents the first attempt to document the nationwide costs resulting from abuse and neglect" and relies on conservative estimates.

Prevent Child Abuse America emphasizes, "Regardless of the economic costs associated with child abuse and neglect, it is impossible to overstate the tragic consequences endured by the children themselves . . . . The costs of such human suffering are incalculable."

Access the document online at: http://www.preventchildabuse.org/learn_more/research_docs/cost_analysis.pdf

Contact information:

Prevent Child Abuse America
200 S. Michigan Ave., 17th Floor
Chicago, IL 60604-2404
Phone: 312-663-3520 OR 1-800-CHILDREN
Fax: 312-939-8962
Website: http://www.preventchildabuse.org

Related Item

Visit the website of the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information (http://nccanch.acf.hhs.gov) for the following related report:

  • Prevention Pays: The Costs of Not Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect (Note: this is no longer available)

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