My February 4th post was in response to the federal study showing a substantial decline in child abuse. Here are comments and follow up from CASA guardian ad-Litem web conversations;

Study released indicates sharp drop in child abuse in the U.S.
Child abuse drops sharply in U.S.
Study: Incidents declined by 26 percent from 1993 to 2006

NEW YORK – A massive new federal study documents an unprecedented and dramatic decrease in incidents of serious child abuse, especially sexual abuse. Experts hailed the findings as proof that crackdowns and public awareness campaigns had made headway. An estimated 553,000 children suffered physical, sexual or emotional abuse in 2005-06, down 26 percent from the estimated 743,200 abuse victims in 1993, the study found.

Full Article:

It is interesting how this study compares to the ones by the Center for Disease Control on “The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study” and the National Survey on Drug Use’s Report (Dec. 17th ,2009) in the article titled , “Violent Behaviors Among Adolecent Females”. What implications will this new federal study have in regards to child welfare policy?
Posted 11 days ago | Reply Privately
Comments (7)

michael tikkanen
Founder at KARA Kids At Risk Action

I would not celebrate too quickly.

From where I stand today, the reported decrease in incidents of serious child abuse is not real in child protection services around the country.

It is a reflection of the number of cases not being accepted as a result of reduced programs and reduced funding due to the financial chaos in our economy

Where this is becoming evident is in the increase in juvenile justice and criminal justice cases.

We will soon be building more prisons (there were 13 million prison and jail releases in the U.S. last year). America now has 25% of the world’s prison population and only 5% of the world’s population. We charge 150,000 youth in adult courts each year.

These are just a few recent articles on lost programs in various states;

And an article on why it pays to keep programs for at risk youth;
Posted 10 days ago | Delete comment

Michael, I’m sure you would agree with Linda Spears of the Child Welfare League of America’s statement, “There’s much more public awareness and public intolerance around child abuse now,” especially since “It was a hidden concern before – people were afraid to talk about it if it was in their family.” I honestly think the article and study helps the general public have a better understanding when looking at the complexities of child abuse.

michael tikkanen
Founder at KARA Kids At Risk Action
See all michael’s activity »
Yes, I do agree that there is much more public awareness and public intolerance of child abuse and that is a good thing.

My fear and disappointment come from the growing problems being experienced in many states just maintaining programs that are absolutely necessary for providing the most minimal protection for abused and neglected children.

The growing poverty and trouble that poverty breeds are causing great stress and terrible things to happen to children all over America right now.

All summer long I reported on the bad news surrounding abused and neglected children for KARA, Kids At Risk Action.

It frightens me to think that people “in the know” will get behind this good news about reduced child abuse as if it were a valid current measurement of the conditions faced by abused and neglected children in our communities at this time.

It is just not true.

We need to speak honestly for these children.
Posted 9 days ago | Delete comment

CASA Advocate at Volunteer
I graduated as a CASA Advocate in November of 2009. As of yet I do not have a case, neither do seven other graduates. We were told there are no new cases since November of last year. I agree this is excellent, hopefully it is because of Children not be abused.
Posted 4 days ago | Reply Privately

michael tikkanen
Founder at KARA Kids At Risk Action
See all michael’s activity »
Let me clarify why I have made this statement Sandra;

When money is tight, programs are cut and cases are not accepted. If there are fewer cases accepted, CASA graduates will have less to do.

Most funding for abused and neglected children’s programs comes from federal, state, and county governments.

Even as we speak, budgets are shrinking and every community is searching to move money to where the need is greatest.

With the chaos in the economy, nonprofits have lost substantial portions of their endowments, which has forced them to cut back on their charitable giving for programs that help at risk youth..

Abused and neglected children suffered from underfunded programs before the economic chaos. Even without this report, their conditions would not be improving.

Below are just a few of the recently closed programs for abused and neglected children that I have written about;

California’s Child Protection Problems Grow

Georgia Child Protection: Too Many Children Too Few Resources

Michigan: 16% Confirmed Increase in Child Abuse & Neglect Cases

Prevent Child Abuse Wyoming to Close

Another State Abandons Children & A Most Effective Program

Perhaps you are in a county that really is not experiencing child abuse.

I do hope that is true.

Best wishes,

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Posted 3 days ago | Delete comment

Thank you for all of those links, Michael, and for all the work you do. I haven’t been a CASA long enough to note any trends, but we are certainly overloaded with tragic cases.
Posted 2 days ago | Reply Privately

Program Manager

Thank you Michael for providing us with this sobering news. By balancing this study with the reality that significant programs are being cut, you are helping others understand the full complexity of child abuse – especially the impact of our recent economic hard times. With more programs getting cut it makes total sense that there are fewer resources to help prevent and treat child abuse; and consequently, why we need your caution about the findings of this study. You are a continual, courageous force against those who so easily want to sweep child abuse under the carpet, and I greatly appreciate that you have hard facts to stem that reaction. Thank you so much!