The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently released the Child Maltreatment 2010 report, which highlights the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) data. The Child Welfare League of America discusses the national data on their blog, Children's Monitor; they state that the report shows a decline in the number of children who were maltreated in 2010 compared to previous years. The intent of this post is to highlight the situation in Minnesota, with a focus on disability in child welfare.
Statistical Overview: Child Victims in Minnesota
The child population in Minnesota is 1,260,797; of that number, 25,341 (or 20.1/1000) were duplicate* children who received a CPS response (investigation or alternative response), and 22,815 (or 18.1/1000) were unique** children who received a CPS response. The national rate is 47.7/1000 for duplicate counts and 40/1000 for unique counts. Minnesota appears to be much lower than the national average.
The reported maltreatment type indicated that 72.2% of reports were for neglect, 20.4% for physical abuse, 18.5% for sexual abuse, 1.2% for medical neglect and 0.7% for psychological maltreatment.
*Duplicate means that each child was counted every time he/she was found to be a victim.
**Unique means that each child was counted only once, regardless of the number of times he/she was found to be a victim.
Child Victims with Disabilities
According to the report, Minnesota reported that 34.3% of children in the child protection system were identified as having a disability. The national average is 15.8%. Here is a graph showing the disabilities with which these children identify:
The report shows that the percentage of children with disabilities in the child protection system in Minnesota is more than twice the national average. This is especially true in children with behavioral problems (four times the national average) and emotional disturbances (three times the national average).
How might this data inform policymakers?
Policymakers should use data to inform their policies, but they also need to be aware of what the data really means. For example, the disability data has several indications:
- Children with disabilities are maltreated at a higher rate in Minnesota;
- Minnesota views children with disabilities as needing county intervention at a higher rate than children without disabilities;
- Minnesota identifies disabilities in children at a higher rate than other states; or
- Minnesota classifies disabilities differently than other states (among other options).
What other aspects of children with disabilities should be examined by policy makers? What policies do you think should be developed as a result of this report?