CPS Case Statistics & Child Abuse Facts: 2023 Study (Abuse & Neglect)

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Criminal Records | January 20, 2023

Man standing outside of a home with a child and looking at a document and a chart that shows CPS case statistics, child labor statistics, child kidnapping statistics, child abuse statistics, and child abduction statistics.

By examining the CPS case statistics & child abuse facts, as well as recent studies on abuse and neglect, families can have a better idea of what behaviors and relationships could be seen as risk factors when looking for signs of abuse and neglect.

Despite improvement in awareness and social programs abuse, and neglect are still extremely common in the United States.

These are the most recent CPS case statistics and child abuse facts.

CPS Case Statistics

Child protective services gather and report much of their own data to various government agencies. The data that CPS is able to gather is most often related directly to foster care such as how many children enter foster care each year, the most common reasons children enter foster care, and the length that these children remain in foster care.

Although things like child abuse background checks, as well as a teaching background check and a daycare background check, have helped lower the amount of abuse there are still tons of issues that need to be addressed.

When it comes to how many allegations of maltreatment were reported and investigated, CPS case statistics estimate that around 4.4 million reports of maltreatment were made and investigated by CPS caseworkers in 2019. The vast majority of these reports were made by individuals who are considered mandatory reporters.2

Although most of these reports determined that there was no evidence of abuse or neglect, many of the children that were victims of abuse and neglect entered foster care, at least for a short period of time.

The number of children in foster care by state can be seen below.

 

StateEstimated Number of Children in Foster Care
Alabama5,600
Alaska2,700
Arizona13,000
Arkansas4,200
California49,750
Colorado5,300
Connecticut4,000
Delaware600
Florida23,500
Georgia13,700
Hawaii1,600
Idaho1,700
Illinois16,300
Indiana18,000
Iowa6,000
Kansas7,800
Kentucky9,100
Louisiana4,500
Maine1,800
Maryland3,900
Massachusetts10,400
Michigan12,000
Minnesota8,969
Mississippi4,600
Missouri12,400
Montana3,900
Nebraska3,400
Nevada4,500
New Hampshire1,300
New Jersey5,400
New Mexico2,500
New York15,700
North Carolina10,100
North Dakota1,500
Ohio15,000
Oklahoma8,500
Oregon7,000
Pennsylvania16,000
Rhode Island2,000
South Carolina4,300
South Dakota1,500
Tennessee7,700
Texas32,600
Utah2,500
Vermont1,200
Virginia4,800
Washington11,200
West Virginia7,000
Wisconsin7,700
Wyoming1,000

Although it is interesting to see the total number of foster children in each state, it is also important to know the rate of children in foster care in each state so that problems with child welfare systems can be more directly addressed.

Below is the rate of children in foster care by state arranged from lowest to highest.

 

StateFoster Care Percentage per 1,000 Children
New Jersey1.6
Maryland1.6
Delaware1.6
Virginia1.6
New York1.8
Utah2.0
Illinois2.1
North Carolina2.1
Texas2.4
Louisiana2.4
Georgia2.5
Michigan2.7
Connecticut2.8
Idaho3.0
New Mexico3.1
California3.1
Washington3.2
New Hampshire3.3
Mississippi3.4
Colorado3.4
South Carolina3.5
Pennsylvania3.5
Wisconsin3.6
Alabama3.6
Florida3.6
Oregon3.7
Massachusetts3.8
Hawaii3.9
Arkansas3.9
Tennessee4.0
Minnesota4.1
Nebraska4.1
Nevada4.1
Oklahoma4.1
Ohio4.2
Maine5.0
Missouri5.0
Iowa5.1
Rhode Island5.3
North Dakota5.8
South Dakota5.8
Indiana6.0
Arizona6.0
Kansas6.1
Vermont6.5
Kentucky6.8
Wyoming8.0
Alaska8.5
Montana9.5
West Virginia14.0

It is a bit of a misconception that when children enter foster care they are likely to stay there for years. Aside from this, CPS case statistics show that many of the children in foster care are returned to their parents within a year of being separated.

The below data also shows the vast difference in the number of children returned to their parents in different states.

Although states like South Carolina have a very good track record of returning children to their original parents, other states such as Illinois return less than half of children in foster care to their parents within a year.

Percentage of Children Reunified With Their Parents Within 12 Months of Entering State Care

State2017 (%)2018 (%)2019 (%)
Alabama726968
Alaska504847
Arizona646367
Arkansas757071
California646363
Colorado828380
Connecticut606057
Delaware667363
Florida686763
Georgia595853
Hawaii717676
Idaho747373
Illinois283236
Indiana605754
Iowa565349
Kansas595554
Kentucky808278
Louisiana727670
Maine436362
Maryland656051
Massachusetts646360
Michigan454640
Minnesota747471
Mississippi604955
Missouri555152
Montana595662
Nebraska524751
Nevada747372
New Hampshire627269
New Jersey667164
New Mexico777570
New York616160
North Carolina544848
North Dakota717570
Ohio696864
Oklahoma384039
Oregon535347
Pennsylvania727269
Rhode Island696554
South Carolina818383
South Dakota707075
Tennessee747670
Texas515249
Utah706464
Vermont657163
Virginia606360
Washington555553
West Virginia686862
Wisconsin676664
Wyoming747478

Child Labor Statistics

Child labor statistics is another important metric that can be used to determine the levels of child maltreatment in the U.S.

Thanks to immense labor reform since the start of the 20th century,3 the rate of child labor and hazardous child labor has dropped tremendously.

Bar graph illustration of current employment in the US by ethnicity and gender with ages 18-24.
In most states, individuals can not be legally employed until they are 16 years old.

Individuals 18-24 Currently Employed in the United States by Ethnicity and GenderEstimated Number of Individuals Employed (Number Given in Thousands)
Men19,000
Women18,900
White28,000
Black or African American5,500
Asian2,200
Hispanic or Latino9,100

Child Abduction Statistics

Although there have been reports about child abduction statistics in past years that claim that there are over 50,000 child abductions in the U.S. each year, these studies have been largely proven false.

Although still too high, the actual number of child abductions in the U.S. each year is much closer to 2-5,000. However, the vast majority of these abductions will not involve a stranger and instead are often related to custody issues between family members.

Below is a set of data for family-related kidnapping statistics.

The data shows that two of the highest types of kidnapping are related to child custody.1

Bar graph illustration of the percentage of family-related kidnapping statistics.

Type of KidnappingPercentage of Children Taken
Abducted by the non-custodial parent78%
Children between 6-1135%
Abduction lasted between 7 and 30 days24%
Abductors whose primary goal was to take permanent custody82%
Children abducted by a relative21%
Children living with a single parent at the time of the kidnapping42%
Children were living with foster parents or in similar situation15%
Children kidnapped by a male relative66%

Child Kidnapping Statistics

When looking at child kidnapping statistics that involve the type of child abduction that most people think of, it may surprise individuals that the average age of those kidnapped by strangers is far higher than one might expect.

Although most children that are abducted by a family member are under 12 years old, those abducted by strangers are almost always over 12 years old.1

Type of KidnappingPercentage of Children Kidnapped
Children 12 years or older (non-family)81%
Children 12 years or older (Stereotypical – kidnapped by a complete stranger)58%
Child killed (Stereotypical)40%
Child not recovered (Stereotypical)4%
Kidnapped by a male perpetrator86%
Female victimsMore than 50%
The victim was sexually assaultedMore than 50%

Child Abuse Statistics

Child abuse statistics are some of the most important data available when it comes to battling child maltreatment in the United States.4

Not only can different risk factors be identified, but cultural and geographic trends can also be examined in order to prevent further maltreatment.

StateEstimated Number of Total VictimsEstimated Victims of Physical AbuseEstimated Victims of Psychological AbuseEstimated Victims of Sexual Abuse
Alabama11,6005,800202,200
Alaska3,2007001,100300
Arizona10,0008005400
Arkansas9,2001,8002001,800
California60,3004,1005,4003,300
Colorado11,6001,2002001,000
Connecticut6,3004001,900400
Delaware1,200200500100
Florida28,2002,3003002,300
Georgia8,7001,1002,200800
Hawaii1,30010030100
Idaho2,000800N/A200
Illinois34,5006,100704,800
Indiana22,6001,600N/A2,500
Iowa10,6001,100100700
Kansas2,400600400500
Kentucky16,7001,20040700
Louisiana6,90080020400
Maine4,7001,3001,800400
Maryland7,2001,400202,100
Massachusetts22,5001,800N/A700
Michigan26,9004,0002001,200
Minnesota6,6009002001,600
Mississippi8,1001,3001,5001,100
Missouri4,4001,4006001,500
Montana3,80020020100
Nebraska2,40030010300
Nevada5,0001,00020400
New Hampshire1,20010050100
New Jersey3,70050050600
New Mexico7,1001,0002,000300
New York59,1005,3006002,200
North Carolina22,4001,1002001,000
North Dakota1,60010050050
Ohio23,70011,3001,6004,200
Oklahoma14,7002,0005,000800
Oregon11,5001,400200800
Pennsylvania4,6002,000502,000
Rhode Island2,7004001,000100
South Carolina14,3006,4001,000700
South Dakota1,60020040100
Tennessee8,7005,1005002,300
Texas65,1007,4003006,600
Utah9,7003,7003,5001,700
Vermont5004002100
Virginia5,7001,600100700
Washington4,000900N/A500
West Virginia6,1004,9004,000200
Wisconsin4,20060020900
Wyoming9002030050

CPS Case Statistics: Child Abuse Facts

Aside from looking solely at the data, knowing some basic child abuse facts can also put things into perspective and help parents identify behaviors that might indicate their child was the victim of abuse.5,6

Individuals should first familiarize themselves with the definitions of various kinds of abuse as well as the long-term consequences that this abuse can have on the victim.7

Screenshot of CDC website page for child abuse and neglect with yellow arrow on child abuse statistics.

Sadly, data suggests that one in seven children experience abuse or neglect, as defined by legislation, in the United States.

Children living in poverty experience abuse and neglect at nearly 5 times the normal rate.5 Those who are familiar with some of the more common forms of neglect will be able to see a connection quite clearly.

Without adequate social services available, children in poverty will frequently not have basic needs met such as food and basic sanitation, as well as the tendency for children in poverty to be left home alone for long periods of time, due to parents not having sufficient funds to hire babysitters or make other arrangements.

Child Neglect Statistics

Child neglect statistics can be just as effective at addressing the root problem as examining child abuse statistics. National child maltreatment statistics are gathered by the Administration of Children and Families.8,9

StateEstimated Total VictimsMedical Neglect
Alabama11,600100
Alaska3,200100
Arizona10,000N/A
Arkansas9,200200
California60,30050
Colorado11,600100
Connecticut6,300200
Delaware1,200N/A
Florida28,2001,000
Georgia8,700200
Hawaii1,30010
Idaho2,0006
Illinois34,500700
Indiana22,600N/A
Iowa10,600100
Kansas2,400100
Kentucky16,700300
Louisiana6,900N/A
Maine4,700N/A
Maryland7,200N/A
Massachusetts22,500N/A
Michigan26,900600
Minnesota6,600N/A
Mississippi8,100400
Missouri4,400100
Montana3,80010
Nebraska2,4001
Nevada5,000100
New Hampshire1,20030
New Jersey3,70080
New Mexico7,100200
New York59,1003,300
North Carolina22,4001,000
North Dakota1,60030
Ohio23,700400
Oklahoma14,700300
Oregon11,500100
Pennsylvania4,600200
Rhode Island2,70040
South Carolina14,300300
South Dakota1,600N/A
Tennessee8,700100
Texas65,1001,000
Utah9,70050
Vermont50010
Virginia5,700100
Washington4,000N/A
West Virginia6,100300
Wisconsin4,20060
Wyoming9003

There is a ton of information that individuals can learn from CPS case statistics.

Although much of this data can be emotionally frustrating, it’s important that this data is gathered accurately so that individuals can identify the problem at the root and prevent child maltreatment before it happens.

Although child abuse and neglect are happening at lower rates in the U.S. than ever, there is still a long way to go.

Making CPS case statistics more accessible will allow for greater awareness of the issue and allow organizations to enact change to address the problem at the root, instead of when it is already too late.

Frequently Asked Questions About CPS Case Statistics

How Long Does a CPS Case Stay on Your Record?

For individuals wondering how long does a CPS case stay on your record? A CPS case will not appear on an individual’s record unless criminal charges were filed due to the findings of the case.

What Is a CPS Background Check?

A CPS background check is a background check used to screen individuals who are applying for jobs that qualify as child care.10

How Far Back Does a CPS Background Check Go?

A CPS background check will cover the individual’s entire life and does not have limits based on the state it was performed in.

What Is a Foster Parent Background Check?

A foster parent background check is the same as a child care background check and is used to screen individuals who are interested in becoming foster parents.

Who Is the Non-Offending Parent in CPS Case?

The non-offending parent in a CPS case is the parent who is not under investigation, usually a parent that does not live in the household.

What Are the Ways on How To Get a CPS Case Dismissed?

CPS cases are most often dismissed due to lack of evidence, however, individuals can file for a motion to dismiss due to procedural issues with the investigation.

What Are the Ways on How To Get a CPS Case Dismissed in Texas?

Getting a CPS case dismissed in Texas will generally require individuals to file a motion for dismissal with the judge that is hearing the case.

What Are the Ways on How To Get a CPS Case Dismissed in California?

CPS cases can be dropped or dismissed if there is no evidence of abuse or neglect or if the changes suggested by the CPS case worker were made.

What CPS Can and Cannot Do in Pennsylvania?

In PA, CPS is able to show up at a parent’s home without notice and can talk to the children without permission. However, CPS is not able to enter the home without permission or a court order.

What CPS Can and Cannot Do in Michigan?

In Michigan, CPS workers are not able to enter the home without a court order. However, CPS workers can get a court order to remove children from the home if they believe there is evidence of abuse or neglect.

What CPS Can and Cannot Do in New York?

CPS is able to talk to children without parents’ permission to obtain more accurate information, however, CPS must gain permission from the homeowner in order to enter a house to investigate.

What Are Child Abuse Background Checks Used For?

Child abuse background checks are used to screen individuals that are applying for jobs that qualify as child care.

What Government Agencies Can Help on How To Find Where Someone Works for Garnishment?

Knowing how to find where someone works for garnishment is extremely difficult since there are no public employment databases. However, the SSA and IRS can use their own databases to find this info when requested by law enforcement.

What Are the Ways on How To Get a CPS Case Dismissed?

Getting a CPS case dismissed almost always involves proving there is no evidence of any abuse or neglect in the household.

Does CPS Notify the Other Parent?

CPS will only notify the other parent if they have custody of the child or are a possible caretaker for the child while the investigation proceeds.

What Is the CPS Non Custodial Parent?

The non-custodial parent in a CPS case is simply the parent that does not have full custody of the child.

Does CPS Have To Notify the Other Parent?

CPS only has an obligation to notify the other parent if the other parent has partial custody or is possibly going to have temporary custody of the child when they are removed from the home.

What Are the Rights of the Non-Offending Parent?

The rights of the non-offending parent include the right to an attorney, and the right to appear in court at any hearings to ask questions, provide evidence, and provide testimony.

What Is a Non-Offending Parent Evaluation?

A non-offending parent evaluation will take place to determine if the non-offending parent is a suitable guardian for the child temporarily or permanently based on the case.


References

1Child Find of America. (2022, July 12). Facts & Stats on Missing Children. Child Find of America. Retrieved December 04, 2022, from <https://childfindofamerica.org/resources/facts-and-stats-missing-children/>

2U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2019). Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect. Child Welfare Information Gateway. Retrieved January 03, 2023, from <https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/systemwide/laws-policies/statutes/manda/>

3The University of Iowa. (2023). Labor Center Search Page. Iowa Labor Center. Retrieved January 03, 2023, from <https://laborcenter.uiowa.edu/search?terms=labor%20reform>

4U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2021, December 14). Child Maltreatment 2020. The Administration for Children and Families. Retrieved January 03, 2023, from <https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/documents/cb/cm2020.pdf>

5Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, April 6). Fast Facts: Preventing Child Abuse & Neglect. CDC. Retrieved January 03, 2023, from <https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/childabuseandneglect/fastfact.html>

6U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2023). Identification of Child Abuse & Neglect. Child Welfare Information Gateway. Retrieved January 03, 2023, from <https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/can/identifying/>

7Leeb, R. T., Paulozzi, L. J., Melanson, C., Simon, T. R., & Arias, I. (2008, March 28). Child Maltreatment Surveillance. CDC. Retrieved January 03, 2023, from <https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/CM_Surveillance-a.pdf>

8U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2021, June 11). Child Maltreatment 2019: Summary of Key Findings. Child Welfare Information Gateway. Retrieved January 03, 2023, from <https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubpdfs/canstats.pdf>

9U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (2023). Administration for Children and Families Homepage. Administration for Children and Families. Retrieved January 03, 2023, from <https://www.acf.hhs.gov/>

10Childcare.Gov. (2023). Background Checks: What You Need To Know. Childcare.gov. Retrieved January 03, 2023, from <https://childcare.gov/consumer-education/background-checks-what-you-need-to-know>

11U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2021, September 08). Grounds for Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights. Child Welfare Information Gateway. Retrieved January 03, 2023, from <https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubpdfs/groundtermin.pdf>

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