Child Health USA 2006
Photographs of children's faces

Health Status > Children


State child protective services (CPS) agencies received approximately 3 million referrals, involving an estimated 5.5 million children, alleging abuse or neglect in 2004. Over half of these reports were made by community professionals, such as teachers and other educational personnel, medical personnel, and daycare providers.

Investigations determined that an estimated 872,000 children were victims of abuse or neglect in 2004; this is equivalent to a rate of about 11.9 per 1,000 children under 18 years of age. Neglect was the most common type of maltreatment (7.4 per 1,000 children), followed by physical abuse (2.1 per 1,000). Other types of abuse included sexual abuse, psychological maltreatment, medical neglect, and categories of abuse based on specific State laws and policies. Some children suffer multiple types of maltreatment.

Victimization rates were highest among young children. In 2004, the rate of victimization among children from birth to age 3 was 16.1 per 1,000 children of the same age; the rate declined steadily as age increased. A majority of perpetrators of abuse and neglect, almost 80 percent, were parents. Remaining types of perpetrators included other relatives (6.5 percent), unmarried partners of parents (4.1 percent), and professionals such as daycare workers and residential facility staff (1.1 percent). Foster parents account for 0.4 percent of perpetrators, while friends and neighbors account for 0.3 percent.

Data were obtained from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System, the primary source of national information on abused and neglected children known to State CPS agencies.


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Child Health USA 2006 is not copyrighted. Readers are free to duplicate and use all or part of the information contained on this page. Suggested Citation: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau. Child Health USA 2006. Rockville, Maryland: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2006.