According to the latest annual reporting data released Monday by the Department of Health and Human Services, Kansas’ rate of child abuse victims has risen substantially over the last five years.
The Child Maltreatment report shows the Sunflower State is one of just nine states to have more than a 30 percent increase from 2010-2014.
During those five years, Kansas had a 32.8 percent increase in child victims, a large increase when compared with neighboring Missouri (.2 percent increase) and the national average (2.1 percent increase).
However, the Kansas Department for Children and Families said the increase is only due to the fact that more people are coming forward.
"The number of in-takes that have been assigned has increased tremendously. And I think that reflects on the community that has actually taken action and reported abuse and neglect,” said Kansas Dept. for Children & Families program administrator Tina Abney.
Theresa Freed is the communications director with the Kansas Department for Children and Families. She added that Kansas is still one of the top states in the country in fighting child abuse.
“According to the latest finalized federal review, Kansas has one of the safest child welfare systems in the country -- ranking second among the 50 states in the category of ‘children are first and foremost, protected from abuse and neglect.’”
While the reason for the attributed increase in reporting isn’t known, the success in the system is attributed to social workers, foster care contractors, foster parents, law enforcement, judges, Guardians Ad Litem, CASAs, and “those who make it a priority to report suspected cases of abuse and neglect, including family, friends, teachers, counselors, medical professionals, pastors and more,” Freed said in a statement.
Kansas also falls below the national average for child fatalities when looking at 2014 (Per 100,000 children)
Kansas – 1.80
Missouri – 2.59
National – 2.13
More facts from the latest national Child Maltreatment report:
- Only 12.6 percent of the time was a victim’s perpetrator a non-parent in 2014.
- The national estimates of children who received an investigation or alternative response increased 7.4 percent from 2010 (3,023,000) to 2014 (3,248,000).
- The number and rate of victims of maltreatment have fluctuated during the past five years. Comparing the national estimate of victims from 2010 to 2014 show an increase of less than one percent.
- Three quarters of victims were neglected, 17 percent were physically abused and 8.3 percent were sexually abused.
- For 2014, a nationally estimated 1,580 children died of abuse and neglect at a rate of 2.13 per 100,000 children in the national population.
You can see more statistics on the Kansas Department for Children and Families website or see the entire federal report from the Department of Health & Human Services here.
Report abuse or neglect:
IN KANSAS: 1-800-922-5330
IN MISSOURI: 1-800-392-3738
Josh Helmuth can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .