Because Childhood Lasts a Lifetime.

Economic Burden of Known Child Maltreatment Cases in 2018 by State

Child abuse and neglect are a major public health problem with significant effects for individual victims and for society. Previous research has estimated the economic burden of child maltreatment at a national level but has not provided social work advocates with state-level estimates or provided information regarding the correct interpretation of these estimates.

Using data from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) from 2018 and per victim estimates of the economic burden of fatal and non-fatal cases of child maltreatment, this study, published in the Child & Adolescent Social Work Journal, calculates state-level estimates of the economic burden of known cases of child maltreatment from the year 2018. Rationale for estimating the economic burden of investigated versus substantiated cases is discussed, as is interpretation of study findings.

The findings of this study provide social work and other advocates with state-level estimates of the economic burden of child maltreatment and facilitates the interpretation of the findings to be used in advocacy efforts. As the authors explain in the manuscript, “These findings can be used to educate policy makers about the economic burden of child abuse and neglect in each state. In turn, these data can be used to make a case for ‘upstream’ approaches to child abuse and neglect prevention, including finalizing the reauthorization and funding increases for the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), which provides much-needed resources for community-based prevention at the state level.” Limitations of NCANDS data and economic burden estimation are also discussed.

The lead author, Dr. J. Bart Klika, is a research faculty member at Florida State University College of Social Work, as well as our Chief Research and Strategy Officer and a board member of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children.

Citation: Klika, J.B., Rosenzweig, J. & Merrick, M. Economic Burden of Known Cases of Child Maltreatment from 2018 in Each State. Child & Adolescent Social Work Journal (2020).

Lead author:


Dr. Melissa T. Merrick

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