Yesterday, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prvention (CDC) released a report that found that the annual cost of child maltreatment (CM) is $124 billion. Child maltreatment includes physical, psychological and sexual abuse as well as neglect. YaMinco of the Children’s Monitor comments on the report:
The study highlights some evidence-based strategies for addressing CM, including a promising array of prevention and intervention programs with great potential to reduce the economic burden of maltreatment. Although longitudinal research on the economic burden of fatal and non-fatal CM is still very limited, the study suggests that in economic terms the burden is so substantial that the benefits of prevention will likely outweigh the costs for effective programs.
I found it most interesting that fatal child abuse is more expensive than non-fatal abuse. Now that I loked at the CDC news release, it makes sense, since they count productivity losses and a dead child can’t work. However, please also note the substantial criminal, mental health, medical and educational costs for a child who survives maltreatment. If this doesn’t signal that child abuse is an urgent public health concern, I don’t know what does.