Safe children: Reimagining child welfare for the 21st century

Every year more than 6 million children are involved in reports of suspected abuse and neglect. About 259,500 children enter foster care. And an estimated 1,500 children die due to maltreatment, often at the hands of their caregivers.

In other words, 24 hours from now, another 18,000 children will be involved in reports of suspected maltreatment, and 711 more children will enter foster care because of abuse and neglect. Another four children will die due to maltreatment.

Are these stark statistics inevitable?

No. We can learn from the approach to public safety used by other sectors. In aviation, for example, safety is of utmost importance, and accidents are not seen as inevitable. Before an accident even occurs — and especially after one has happened — analysts scour a range of data to look for potential risk factors and work to prevent critical incidents from ever happening in the first place.

Some child welfare jurisdictions around the country are exploring this perspective, using data to help prevent harm to at-risk children. These programs are using data to learn from past cases of child abuse and neglect and to improve prevention in the future.

To learn more about the promising approaches being developed today to keep children safe, make families strong and support communities, read our 2016 signature report, Investing in Hope.

Related Resources

Read about the landmark report from the federal Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities.