Child abuse is a critical issue in the United States, where nearly five children die every day due to abuse and neglect. Every 10 seconds, a new report of abuse is made. Most reports of suspected child abuse or neglect come from the professionals who come into close or consistent contact with children, such as educators, medical, and law enforcement professionals.
Understanding the signs of child abuse and knowing how to make a report are crucial for stopping child abuse in the country. Which is why mandated reporting training is so critical.
Here are four reasons to invest in mandated reporter training improvements in your state:
Reporting Saves Lives
An estimated 1,700 children die as a result of child abuse each year. The majority of these fatalities occur in children under the age of 2. And studies indicate that child mistreatment fatalities are underreported by at least 50 percent.
Parents – acting alone or with another parent or individual – are responsible for 80.1 percent of child abuse or neglect fatalities.
According to childwelfare.gov, researchers have noted the need for better training for child welfare workers in identifying potentially fatal situations. For these 1,700 children, reporter training could mean the difference between life or death.
Child Abuse Has a High Economic Impact
Although services and support help a child heal and minimize the effects of abuse, the economic impact – for both the child and community – can be severe and life-long.
Safe and Sound, a child advocacy group headquartered in San Francisco, CA, has calculated the economic burden of child abuse in California, finding the total economic burden incurred by CA communities for the lifelong costs of child maltreatment is $26.3 billion.
According to safeandsound.org, the economic impact of child abuse includes:
Educational costs: abused children are 77% more likely to require special education and have higher rates of school absenteeism and poorer academic performance.
Criminal justice costs: abused children are 59% more likely to be arrested as juveniles, and 28% more likely to have an adult criminal record, which makes it more difficult for these victims to find employment.
Public assistance costs: adolescent victims of child abuse are 200% more likely to be unemployed as adults and are more likely to receive public assistance.
Healthcare costs: victims of abuse have 21% higher long-term healthcare costs, a higher incidence of chronic health problems, mental health issues, and substance abuse throughout adulthood.
Child Abuse is a Lifelong Problem
As the numbers demonstrate above, the legacy of abuse follows children long into adulthood with several lifelong severe ramifications.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that adverse childhood experiences bring a range of negative long-term health impacts.
Individuals who experience six or more adverse childhood experiences have an average life expectancy that is twenty years shorter than those who haven’t. Abuse victims are at significantly higher risk for mental health disorders, addiction, sexual problems, and reproductive health issues.
As many as two-thirds of people undergoing substance abuse treatment have reported childhood abuse or neglect.
Lastly, adults who suffered abuse as children are about nine times more likely to engage in criminal activity. The frequency of childhood abuse victims in the U.S. prison population is nearly double that of the general population – 14 percent of all men and 36 percent of all women in prison.
Mandated Reporting is the Law
Most states have laws requiring mandated reporting by professionals.
While each state’s definition of a mandated reporter varies, most include workers in healthcare, schools, childcare, social services, law enforcement, and others. Failing to report can result in penalties, fines, and even jail time.
If your state requires mandated reporting with penalties of fines and/or jail time for failing to do so, providing comprehensive and thorough training for mandated reporters is crucial to help them understand and carry out their legal requirements.
CAPTA Funding Covers Mandated Reporter Training
The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) provides Federal grant funding to States to support prevention, assessment, investigation, prosecution, and treatment activities, including mandated reporter training.
These Federal grant funds are available to public agencies and nonprofit organizations, including Indian Tribes and Tribal organizations for programs and projects.
States and other public agencies who invest in mandated reporter training can use CAPTA funds to ensure their mandated reporter training programs are state-of-the-art, comprehensive, and easily accessed by the professionals who need the training to save lives.
Reporting child abuse is critical on every level. However, it’s impossible to report if you don’t know the signs. Training and education in this area is imperative to save the lives of children and prevent child abuse and neglect. Mandated reporter training is good for children, families, and the future of communities.