Cumulative Prevalence of Confirmed Maltreatment and Foster Care Placement for US Children by Race/Ethnicity, 2011–2016

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Objectives. To estimate the cumulative prevalence of confirmed child maltreatment and foster care placement for US children and changes in prevalence between 2011 and 2016.

Methods. We used synthetic cohort life tables and data from the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System and the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System and population counts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Results. US children’s cumulative prevalence of confirmed maltreatment remained stable between 2011 and 2016 at about 11.7% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 11.6%, 11.7%) of the population and increased by roughly 11% for foster care placement from 4.8% (95% CI = 4.8%, 4.8%) to 5.3% (95% CI = 5.3%, 5.4%). American Indian/Alaska Native children experienced the largest change, an 18.0% increase in confirmed maltreatment risk from 13.4% (95% CI = 13.1%, 13.6%) to 15.8% (95% CI = 15.6%, 16.1%) and a 21% increase in foster care placement risk from 9.4% (95% CI = 9.2%, 9.6%) to 11.4% (95% CI = 11.2%, 11.6%).

Conclusions. Confirmed child maltreatment and foster care placement continued to be experienced at high rates in the United States in 2012 through 2016, with especially high risks for American Indian/Alaska Native children. Rates of foster care have increased, whereas rates of confirmed maltreatment have remained stable.

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Youngmin Yi, MA, Frank R. Edwards, PhD, and Christopher Wildeman, PhDYoungmin Yi is a PhD candidate, Department of Sociology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. Frank R. Edwards is with the School of Criminal Justice, Rutgers University, Newark, NJ. Christopher Wildeman is with the Department of Policy Analysis and Management, Cornell University. “Cumulative Prevalence of Confirmed Maltreatment and Foster Care Placement for US Children by Race/Ethnicity, 2011–2016”, American Journal of Public Health 110, no. 5 (May 1, 2020): pp. 704-709.

https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2019.305554

PMID: 32191517