Child maltreatment, which includes both neglect and abuse, is associated with many negative outcomes, including physical injuries, psychological problems, and in extreme cases, death. In 2015, almost 700,000 nationwide children were found to be victims of maltreatment; 6,970 of these were children in Connecticut. The following brief details information from FY 2015 on child maltreatment in the state. This data is available thanks to new reports from Child Trends, a nationally focused nonprofit research organization focused on improving the lives and prospects of children, youth, and their families.
In Connecticut, suspected cases of child abuse or neglect are reported to the Department of Children & Families, through the 24-hour Child Abuse and Neglect Careline written report to DCF or a law enforcement agency. Within 12 hours of receiving any report of alleged sexual abuse or serious physical abuse or serious neglect, DCF must report to the appropriate law enforcement agency; DCF must make its best effort to begin an investigation within two hours if there is an imminent risk of physical harm to a child, and within three days for all other reports. To make a child abuse or neglect report to DCF, please call 1-800-842-2288 (TDD: 1-800-624-5518)
In FY 2015, there were 39,315 referrals made to DCF, at a rate of 51.5 per 1,000 children in the population, lower than the national rate of 53.2. Of these referrals, 44% met the criteria for an investigation or assessment, which is lower than the national average of 58%. At a rate of 28.5 investigations per 1,000 children, compared to the national rate of 45.1 investigations per 1,000 children, the total 21,750 children who received an investigation or assessment for abuse or neglect in Connecticut is smaller cases relative to the state’s child population. Connecticut is also markedly better at investigating abuse or neglect quickly; the average state response in FY 2015 was 44 hours, while the national average was 71 hours.
At a rate of 9.1 victims per 1,000 children, the 6,970 children found to be victims of maltreatment are close to the 9.1 victims per 1,000 children nationwide. However, while the Hispanic or Latino and African American children Connecticut represent 23% and 11% of the state’s child population respectively, 33% of maltreatment victims were Hispanic or Latino and 22% were African American. Building off research which has found that children living in low-income families are at a greater risk of child maltreatment, a recent study by researchers at the University of Connecticut and Indiana University suggests that raising the minimum wage could lead to fewer incidents of child maltreatment, particularly for cases of neglect among young and school-age children.
Click here to see the full fact sheet from Child Trends.