Types of Maltreatment Children Suffer

Maltreatment can take many forms, and some children can suffer from more than one type. Since 1999, the majority of children confirmed to be victims of child maltreatment experienced neglect. The following are the percentages of children who experienced maltreatment in 2005 (USDHHS, 2007):

  • Neglect
  • 62.8%
  • Physical abuse
  • 16.6%
  • Sexual abuse
  • 9.3%
  • Emotional/psychological abuse
  • 7.1%
  • Medical neglect
  • 2.0%
  • Other
  • 14.3%

Demographics of Child Victims

Boys and girls are equally likely to suffer maltreatment. In 2005, 47.3 percent of child victims were male, and 50.7 percent were female. Victimization rates were highest among the youngest population of children, birth to 3 years, at a rate of 16.5 per 1,000 children (USDHHS, 2007).

In 2005, 49.7 percent of children who were maltreated were white, 23.1 percent were African American, and 17.4 percent were Hispanic. American Indians and Alaska Natives accounted for 1.2 percent of victims, and Asian-Pacific Islanders accounted for less than 1 percent of victims (USDHHS, 2007).

Approximately 10 percent of the children in this country have a disability or chronic illness. The incidence of abuse and neglect among these children is twice as high as it is among average children (Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2006).

Child victims who were reported with disabilities accounted for almost 8 percent of all victims of child abuse and neglect in the 39 states that reported this type of data (USDHHS, 2007). For NCANDS’ purposes, children with the following disabilities were considered disabled: mental retardation, emotional disturbances, visual impairment, learning disabilities, physical disabilities, behavioral problems or other medical problems. It is believed that while children with disabilities are maltreated more frequently, these cases are less likely to be reported for several reasons. Most CPS agencies’ data collection on maltreatment cases does not involve questions regarding a child’s disability. Children with disabilities are less likely to be believed or viewed as credible when they attempt to report.

Parental Substance Abuse Can Lead to Child Abuse and Neglect

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University estimates in a 2005 report that substance abuse is a factor in at least 70 percent of all reported cases of child maltreatment. Adults with substance use disorders are 2.7 times more likely to report abusive behavior and 4.2 times more likely to report neglectful behavior toward their children. Maltreated children of substance abusing parents are more likely to have poorer physical, intellectual, social and emotional outcomes and are at greater risk of developing substance abuse problems themselves (USDHHS, 2003). Back to top

Too Often Children Need to Be Removed From Their Homes

One of the major reasons children enter foster care is abuse and neglect associated with parental alcohol or drug abuse (USDHHS, 1999). As of September 30, 2004, 517,000 children lived in foster homes because they could not safely remain in their own homes. In 2005, one-fifth (21.7 percent) of victims or 317,000 children were removed from their homes as a result of child maltreatment investigations. Some children spend weeks or months in care, and others live in care for an entire year or longer (USDHHS, 2007).

Statistics Over Time

The number of children who are abused and neglected has fluctuated over time. There has been a general increase in the number of abuse and neglect substantiations.

  • 1999
  • 829,000
  • 2000
  • 881,000
  • 2001
  • 903,000
  • 2002
  • 896,000
  • 2003
  • 906,000
  • 2004
  • 872,000
  • 2005
  • 899,000

It is difficult to determine if the shifts in the numbers of children being reported is due to the actual change in abuse and neglect each year or if the fluctuations are a result of improved data collecting in these areas. NCANDS reports that the increase in 2005’s data could be a result of the additional reporting of both Puerto Rico and Alaska, which were not included in Child Maltreatment in previous years.

Who Are the Perpetrators?

Perpetrators of child abuse or neglect are most often the child’s own parents. According to NCANDS, in 2005, 79.4 percent of perpetrators were parents and 6.8 percent were other relatives. The largest remaining categories of perpetrators were the unmarried partner of a child’s parent (3.8 percent) and other perpetrators (4.1 percent). In 3.6 percent of child maltreatment cases the perpetrators were missing or unknown. In under 1 percent of child maltreatment cases the perpetrator was a foster parent, residential facility staff, the child’s daycare provider, a legal guardian, friends or neighbors, or other professionals (USDHHS, 2007).

Approximately 40 percent of child victims were maltreated by their mothers acting alone; another 18.3 percent were maltreated by their fathers acting alone; 17.3 percent were abused by both parents (USDHHS, 2007). Back to top

Children Die Every Day From Abuse or Neglect

In 2005, an estimated 1,460 children died as a result of abuse or neglect (USDHHS, 2007). The majority almost 76.6 percent of these children were 3 years of age or younger. Most child fatalities (76.6 percent) happened at the hands of parents (USDHHS, 2007). Not all fatalities were the result of the physical trauma of abuse. Neglect accounted for almost half (32.2 percent) of all fatality cases.

Many Child Victims Are Unknown to CPS Agencies

According to the federally funded Third National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect (1996), almost three times as many children are maltreated as are reported to CPS agencies. This study involved 5,700 community professionals who came in contact with children. The study offered insight into when and why these professionals reported suspected abuse or neglect in greater detail than can be derived through NCANDS data.

What Can You Do?

Thousands of children throughout America suffer abuse and neglect each day. This has harmful consequences on the physical and emotional development and well-being of children. State CPS agencies identify and help many of these children and their families, yet many cases of abuse or neglect are never reported, and not all states provide detailed case-level data to NCANDS. American Humane encourages all community members to become actively involved in the lives of the children within their communities.

American Humane’s Front Porch Project® is a national initiative built on the belief that people who are concerned about children’s well-being should be empowered to act. The program teaches community members how to intervene appropriately when necessary and encourages them to share their knowledge with other community members. It strengthens communities through relationship building between community members, building on the strengths and assets within at-risk families, and by creating a partnership between participants and government agencies.

You have the power to create positive change in your community by stopping the abuse and neglect that occurs in your own neighborhood. If you suspect child abuse or neglect is occurring, please report it to your local CPS agency or to the police if the child is in immediate danger. The longer the abuse continues the more damage it will ultimately cause the child(ren). (See American Humane’s Fact Sheet, Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect).

As nationwide data from sources like NCANDS become more detailed and available, they can help professionals and others understand the problem of child maltreatment more completely. Yet, data alone cannot solve the problem of child abuse and neglect in America. Back to top


NCANDS, the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System, is the primary source of national information on abused and neglected children known to public child protective services agencies. American Humane has provided technical assistance to this project since its beginning in 1990. NCANDS reports that Child Maltreatment 2005 appears to have a large increase in overall data due to the fact that this edition is the first to include Alaska and Puerto Rico. For a copy of this report, contact the Child Welfare Information Gateway at (800) 394-3366 or http://www.childwelfare.gov/. The publication is also available at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb.


Child Welfare Information Gateway (2006). Preventing abuse of children with disabilities. Retrieved June 29, 2007.

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA). (2005). Family matters: Substance abuse and the American family. New York: CASA.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children, Youth, and Families. (2007). Child maltreatment 2005. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

U.S Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau. (2003). Child welfare information gateway: A bulletin for professionals. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect. (1996). Third national incidence study of child abuse and neglect (NIS-3). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children, Youth, and Families, Children’s Bureau. (2006). The AFCARS report #13. Retrieved June 27, 2007.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (1999). Blending perspectives and building common ground: A report to congress on substance abuse and child protection. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

From: http://www.americanhumane.org/children/stop-child-abuse/fact-sheets/child-abuse-and-neglect-statistics.html Back to top

CALM serves clients throughout Santa Barbara County

  • Population, 2012: estimated at 431,249[i]
  • 97,606 children and youth (23% of the county population)i
  • Ranges from urban coastal cities to remote agricultural communities
  • Major cities: Carpinteria, Santa Barbara, Goleta, Lompoc, Santa Maria, Guadalupe, Santa Ynez, New Cuyama.
  • The region is a hub for tourism, often thought of as a wealthy resort, but that is not true for large portion of our population.


  • Santa Barbara County is in the top 15% for income inequality in the nation, and the 4th highest in California[ii]
  • In 2011, 1 in 4 children, 18,675 total, lived in poverty.[iii] Another 27,329 live in low income households (100-200% FPL).[iv] In total, over 64,092 children, more than half of all children in the county, live in low-income or impoverished households[v]
  • 1 in 3 of these households have difficulty providing food for their children.
  • Santa Barbara has serious problems in housing affordability
    • 43% percent of renter households are “cost burdened” – they pay greater than 30 percent of their gross income on rent, are overcrowded, or lack adequate kitchen/plumbing facilities[vi]
    • 23% pay housing costs that exceed 50 percent of their income[vii].
    • 25% of homeless individuals in the county are part of families with children[viii]

Class & Race

  • Latinos make up 40% of the population, 2 out of 3 children in the county are Latino [ix].
  • 1 in 5 adults are foreign born[x]
  • 1 in three 3 residents speaks a language other than English at homeiii
Of all children in the County who live in poverty, 81% of them are of Hispanic backgrounds[xi]. Throughout California, only Imperial County (91%) has a greater proportion of its poor children who are of Latino heritage
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  • Last year (2012) there were 1,703 domestic violence calls for assistance, the highest number since 2005.[xii] The rate of calls compared to the local population has been steadily rising since 2008.[xiii]
  • Over 1,000 children present when police respond to DV incidents each year[xiv]
  • About 450 mothers and children utilize shelter services each yearx.
  • Based on reporting research, this is an estimated 18,000 incidents in the county each year
  • There were 1,643 violent crimes reported in 2012[xv].

Local Gangs

  • A large percentage of violent crime is gang-related.
  • There are seven significant gangs operating in the county[xvi]:
    • Santa Barbara (Eastside & Westside - 550)
    • Goleta (Old Town)
    • Carpinteria (Carpas)
    • Santa Maria (West Park & Northwest -1400)
    • Lompoc (VLP & Southside)
  • About 10% of teen boys and 7% of teen girls report that they are gang affiliated. [xvii]
  • Teens are the most likely to commit, and be the victims of gang violence, due to the requirement to “put in work”
    • 7 teens died in homicides from 2007-2009

Teen Pregnancy

  • The actual number of births to teens (age 15 ‐19) is rising in our county[xviii].
    • In 2007 there were 743 teen births (743/6,289) compared to 594 (5904/6,289) teen births in 2003.
    • Percent of births to teens (age 15‐19) was 11.81% of the number of total births.
    • In 2007, 15.38% (649/4,219) of births to Hispanic women were to teens.
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Teen Mental Health

  • 35% of female teens, and 25% of males, report struggling with feelings of sadness and hopelessness.[xix]
  • In 2011, 185 children in the county were hospitalized for mental health issues. An additional 21 children were hospitalized for self-injury. Three teens completed suicide in 2010, down from a high of 7 suicides the previous year.[xx]

Homicide Risk

  • These two factors, youth-on-youth violence and young age of parenting are the two leading factors in child homicide.

Substance Abuse

  • In 2004 the nationwide methamphetamine epidemic reached the county, replacing alcohol as the number one drug of arrest[xxi]
  • At the same time, the rate of child abuse rose dramatically
  • In 2012 there were 4,592 arrests in Santa Barbara County for offenses related to illegal drugs.[xxii]
  • 80-90% of detainments are due to drug use
  • The rate of prenatal alcohol abuse during pregnancy is 19% in the state of California
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Child Abuse

  • Poverty, substance abuse, and violent crime (in addition to other factors) increase child abuse risk.
  • Children from families with annual incomes below $15,000 are more than 22 times more likely to experience child abuse compared to children from families with annual incomes above $30,000 (Sedlak, A. J., & Broadhurst, D. D.,1996)
  • In 2012, 4651 children were referred to Child Welfare Services for alleged abusexi. On average, 1 in 3 children will have a second abuse allegation within a year of the first.
    • Sexual Abuse: 7.8%
    • Neglect: 52.1%
    • Physical abuse: 21.1%
    • Emotional abuse 12.3%
    • Caretaker absence/incapacity 4%.
  • The number of substantiated cases of neglect or abuse in Santa Barbara County increased significantly in the last decade
  • While the overall rate of abuse substantiation  peaked around 2007, infants have continued to have a high rate of substantiation compared to other age groupsxi.
  • The number of children placed in foster care rose from 150 in 2000 to 259 in 2012, an increase of 73%xi.
  • The overall rate of foster care placement has also increased.
    • The rate of foster care placement has also increased significantly during the same period, from 1.5 to 2.6 in 2012 per 1,000xi.


  • A number of different factors contribute to abuse risk, and assisting a child in their recovery will include addressing those factors:
  • Safety planning to limit violence exposure
  • Basic needs (housing, food, parental employment)
  • Parent effectiveness (mental health issues, developmental/parenting knowledge), substance abuse treatment).
  • This involves coordinating with supportive providers, as well as direct treatment.
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[i] U.S. Census Bureau. (2013). American Factfinder: Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2012 estimate. Retrieved 8/26/13 from: http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=PEP_2012_PEPANNRES

http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=PEP_2012_PEPAGESEX&prodType=table (age)

[ii] U.S. Census Bureau. (2010). 2006-2010 American Community Survey.  Retrieved 6/10/12, from U.S. Census Bureau Data downloaded from IBM Many Eyes Project: http://www-958.ibm.com/software/data/cognos/manyeyes/datasets/gini-coefficient-by-county-2000-20/versions/1

[iii] U.S. Census Bureau. (2013). Poverty Status in the past 12 months of related children under 18 years by family type by age of related children under 18 years. Retrieved 8/26/13 from: http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=PEP_2012_PEPAGESEX&prodType=table

[iv] U.S. Census Bureau (2013). Ratio of income to poverty level in the last 12 months. Retrieved 8/26/13 From: http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_11_3YR_B05010&prodType=table

[v] County of Santa Barbara (2012). State of the Children (reference: U.S. Census 2010 American Community Survey). Retrieved from: http://www.countyofsb.org/kidsnet/documents/Scorecards/StateoftheChildrenJan2012.pdf

[vi] U.S. Census. (2012). Santa Barbara, CA: Selected Housing Characteristics. In American Community Survey Selected Population Tables 2006-2010 Retrieved 6/9/12, from U.S. Census http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_10_SF4_DP04&prodType=table

[vii] U.S. Census. (2012). Santa Barbara, CA: Selected Housing Characteristics. In American Community Survey Selected Population Tables 2006-2010 Retrieved 6/9/12, from U.S. Census http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_10_SF4_DP04&prodType=table

[viii] U.S. Census. (2012). Santa Barbara, CA: Selected Housing Characteristics. In American Community Survey Selected Population Tables 2006-2010 Retrieved 6/9/12, from U.S. Census http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_10_SF4_DP04&prodType=table

[ix] U.S. Census Bureau. (2010). American Factfinder: Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010

[x] U.S. Census Bureau. (2010). State and County Quickfacts.  Retrieved 6/10/12, from U.S. Census Bureau http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/06/06083.html

[xi] U.S. Census Bureau. (2010). 2006-2010 American Community Survey Selected Population Tables.  Retrieved 6/10/12, from U.S. Census Bureau http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?fpt=table

[xii] Criminal Justice Statistics Center, Office of the Attorney General (2013). Domestic Violence Related Calls for Assistance. Retrieved 8/26/13 from http://oag.ca.gov/crime/cjsc/stats/domestic-violence

[xiii] Lucille Packard Foundation (2013). Domestic Violence Calls for Assistance: Trend. Retrieved 8/26/13 from http://www.kidsdata.org/data/topic/trend/domestic_violence-rate.aspx?loc=273

[xiv] [Domestic Violence Solutions internal data.] (2010).

[xv] California Criminal Justice Statistics Center. (201.). CJSC Tables: Statistics by City and County.  Retrieved 8/26/13, from http://oag.ca.gov/crime/cjsc/stats/crimes-clearances

[xvi]Ganoa, B. (2010). City of Santa Barbara Gang Update. South Coast Task Force on Youth Gangs Meeting Archives. Retrieved from: http://www.santabarbaraca.gov/Documents/Other_Committees/South_Coast_Task_Force_on_Youth_Gangs/Meeting_Archives/83_November_10_2010_Leadership_Council/2010-11-10_Leadership_Council_PowerPoint_PD_November_10_2010.pdf

[xvii] California Healthy Kids Survey (2012), Retrieved 8/25/13 from http://chks.wested.org/indicators/safety/gangs/current-gang-membership/by-gender-and-grade-level

[xviii] Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, internal data. (2011). Maternal Child and Adolescent Health (MCAH) Project Narrative Retrieved 6/5/12, from Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, internal data. http://www.countyofsb.org/uploadedFiles/phd/Maternal_Child_Health/2011-12%20AFA%20Narrative%20SC.pdf

[xix] California Healthy Kids Survey (2012), Retrieved 8/25/13 from http://chks.wested.org/indicators/emotional-behavioral-health/mental-health-needs/feelings-of-sadness-or-hopelessness/by-gender-and-grade-level

[xx] Lucille Packard Foundation (2013). Emotional and Behavioral Health Tables. Retrieved 8/26/13 from http://www.kidsdata.org/data/region/dashboard.aspx?loc=273&cat=27

[xxi] From Me to We: Report of the Santa Barbara County Methamphetamine Prevention Network Summit (2007). http://www.countyofsb.org/kidsnet/documents/methsummit2006.pdf

[xxii] Criminal Justice Statistics Center, Office of the Attorney General (2013). Arrests in Santa Barbara County. Retrieved 8/26/13 from http://oag.ca.gov/crime/cjsc/stats/arrests

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In FY 2014:

  • CALM therapists treated 1,823 individual clients
  • CALM conducted 8 mandated reporter trainings for 401 teachers, coaches and camp counselors
  • CALM therapists led 106 body safety trainings reaching at least 4,500 children and their parents
  • CALM worked to support teachers, children and administrators in 4 pre-schools, reaching 300 children
  • CALM received and responded to 549 referrals to our Front Porch, child abuse prevention program.
  • CALM provided treatment to 130 mothers affected by postpartum depression.
  • CALM conducted 121 forensic interviews at the request of law enforcement.