FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Charlotte, NC – April 5, 2018: Council for Children’s Rights, a child-serving non-profit based in Charlotte, North Carolina, released its 2018 Child Maltreatment Report today. The report is produced annually in April in conjunction with National Child Abuse Prevention Month.
Child maltreatment is one of the most significant issues impacting child welfare. Information and education is the key to ensuring the safety of every child in our community. To that end, CFCR compiles and provides information annually on the definitions of child abuse, the signs exhibited by a child who is abused, and the ways in which citizens can intervene to potentially save the life of an abused child.
During fiscal year 2016-17, 13,968 children, or 4.6% of all children under 18, were reported maltreated. The number of reported victims decreased 3.9%, or 568 children, from last year.
Key findings and policy considerations from the 2018 report include:
- In Mecklenburg County, the greatest percentage of maltreatment reports have consistently come from the court system or educational personnel, followed by medical personnel and human services.
- Since 2007-08, the number of investigated reports increased 30.4%, from 5,722 in 2007-08 to 7,463 in 2016-17. Concurrently, the number of substantiations decreased 17.2%, from 1,437 substantiations in 2007-08 to 1,190 substantiations in 2016-17.
- The largest age group of children reported abused or neglected were under age 6, 39.2% (5,479) in the current year. This group consistently accounts for the greatest number of reports.
- Several factors increase the likelihood that families will be reported on suspicions of maltreatment including a child’s low performance on a standardized developmental assessment, maternal drug use, four or more children in the home, and maternal depressive symptoms. Universal prevention policies (e.g. family support services, family-friendly workplaces, quality childcare and early education, anti-poverty programs) could help identify these risk factors early.
- Despite a small increase between 2013 and 2015, the number of Mecklenburg county children in foster care has steadily decreased. Conversely, children entering foster care at the state-level has spiked 21.2% since 2012-13 after a six year downward trend; making the number of children in foster care today greater than in 2007-2008.
Reporting abuse or neglect is not only essential, it is mandatory. North Carolina law mandates that any person or institution who suspects that a child is abused, neglected, or dependent must make a report to the county department of social services. Despite this mandate, child maltreatment is largely under-reported.
To report suspected abuse or neglect in Mecklenburg County, Call the 24-hour hotline: 980-31-HELPS(43577) Call 911 immediately if a child is in danger.