DPW Releases Child Abuse Report to Increase Awareness, Highlight Prevention

HARRISBURG – The Department of Public Welfare has released the 2011 Annual Child Abuse Report, which offers statistics on child abuse cases in Pennsylvania and on continued efforts to better protect children from abuse and neglect.

“All children deserve to grow up in a safe and nurturing environment, free from abuse and neglect,” said Public Welfare SecretaryGary D. Alexander. “This report serves as a tremendous resource in measuring prevention efforts, as well as identifying and creating better strategies to further prevent abuse and neglect.”

This year’s report includes completed child abuse case data collected during the 2011 calendar year. Some of the findings included in the report are:

  • Thirty-four child fatalities occurred in 2011, one more than the previous year;
  • The total number of reports of suspected child abuse received was 24,378, a decline of 237 reports from 2010;
  • A total of 3,408 substantiated reports, a decrease of 248 from 2010;
  • Of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties, 31 received more reports in 2011 compared to 2010; and
  • Approximately one out of every 1,000 children living in Pennsylvania was found to be a victim of abuse in 2011.

In light of recent national attention paid to Pennsylvania’s child abuse laws, the annual report will serve as an excellent resource forPennsylvania citizens and for the Task Force on Child Protection. The task force was formed in January to review all aspects of child abuse reporting, including a sharp focus on mandated reporting. Mandated reporters are those whose occupations bring them in contact with children. In 2011, mandated reporters referred 78 percent of all suspected abuse reports.

This report also includes the efforts of the Pennsylvania Citizen Review Panels. Broken into regions around the state, the panels have been working with the Department of Public Welfare for two years to find innovative and practical ways to build on the current systems and efforts in place to protect children.

“Even though we have made great strides in preventing child abuse, there is still much work to be done,” said Alexander.  “It is my hope that the department, legislators, child welfare advocates and the community can work together and ultimately end child abuse in Pennsylvania.”

The department maintains a central registry for abuse reports and operates ChildLine, a toll-free, 24-hour hotline that allows anyone to anonymously report suspected abuse. The number is 1-800-932-0313 (TDD 1-866-872-1677).

To read the full report or to find more information on child abuse awareness and prevention, visit the Department of Public Welfare online at www.dpw.state.pa.us. The report can be found under the “Publications” section.

Pennsylvanians who suspect welfare fraud should call 1-800-932-0582.

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