The economic burden of child maltreatment in the United States and implications for prevention.

Given the substantial economic burden of child maltreatment, a prevalent public health problem, benefits of prevention will likely outweigh the costs for effective programs.


Summary:  This article provided estimates of average lifetime costs per child maltreatment victim and aggregate lifetime costs for all child maltreatment cases in 2008. Costs were measured from a societal perspective and adjusted to 2010 US dollars.  Costs associated with child maltreatment included: short and long-term physical and mental health costs, productivity loss, child welfare costs, criminal justice costs, and special education costs.  The estimated total burden of child maltreatment is $585 billion.  The average lifetime cost per victim of nonfatal child maltreatment is $210,012, including $144,360 in productivity losses. The estimated average lifetime cost per death is $1,272,900, including $14,100 in medical costs.


ApplicationThe burden of child maltreatment demonstrates the need for greater prevention efforts and allocation of financial resources to support such prevention efforts.


Limitations:  Once source used to determine incidence-based estimates were determined using CPS data, which might have underestimated total incidence of child maltreatment.  Child maltreatment definitions and criteria for substantiation varied between states, which might have also underestimated total incidence of child maltreatment.

Fang, X., Brown, D. S., Florence, C. S., & Mercy, J. A.
Reprint Status: 
Journal/Periodical Name: 
Child Abuse & Neglect.
Published online, doi:10.1016/j.chiabu.2011.10.006.
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