Latest Child Maltreatment Report shows decrease in victims of child abuse and neglect

Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Contact: Kenneth J. Wolfe
(202) 401-9215

HHS’ Administration for Children and Families (ACF) today released its annual report on child abuse and neglect. “Child Maltreatment 2010” marks the 21st issuance of the report and shows a steady decline in the number of victims who suffered maltreatment for the fourth consecutive year. According to the report, an estimated 754,000 children were determined to be victims of maltreatment in 2010, down from 763,000 victims in 2009. As in past years, rates of abuse and neglect are highest among infants and young children.

“We are heartened to see maltreatment on the decline, but even one child being a victim of abuse and neglect is too many,” said George Sheldon, acting assistant secretary for children and families. “The report reminds us of the continuing need for investment in prevention efforts and the importance of coordination between federal, state and local agencies.”

Data collected through the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System, a voluntary data collection system, shows that child protective services received an estimated 3.3 million referrals of possible maltreatment for the year. Of the 1,793,794 reports that received an investigation, 436,321 were substantiated; 24,976 of the investigations could not be substantiated under state law or policy, but there was reason to suspect that at least one child may have been maltreated or was at-risk of maltreatment; and 1,262,118 were found to be unsubstantiated.  The number of reported child fatalities due to child abuse and neglect has also fluctuated during the past five years. A nationally estimated 1,560 children, compared with 1,750 for Fiscal Year 2009, died from abuse and neglect in Fiscal Year 2010.

ACF is implementing major initiatives geared toward decreasing the rate of child abuse and neglect and ensuring that children who have experienced maltreatment receive the services they need to heal and recover. To prevent maltreatment and support the needs of infants and young children, ACF is supporting grantees in 10 states working to enhance collaboration between early childhood and child welfare systems. ACF also awarded $10.5 million for Fiscal Year 2010-2011 in Affordable Care Act funds for the Tribal Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting program, which addresses the diverse needs of at-risk American Indian and Alaska Native children and families and assures effective coordination and delivery of child abuse and neglect prevention.

“Although there’s a steady decrease in these numbers, the statistics point to a problem that still demands the committed focus of government, communities and families,” said Bryan Samuels, commissioner for the Administration on Children, Youth and Families. “We will hold our obligation to making sure every child enjoys a healthy family life in a nurturing community.”  

View the full Child Maltreatment 2010 Report.

Additional information on how to prevent child abuse is available at the Child Welfare Information Gateway:


Note: All ACF news releases, fact sheets and other materials are available at:

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