Child Abuse Deaths Increased Among Black Children During The Pandemic
A recent national childcare report issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Services accounts for an uptick in the number of Black children that passed away at the hands of child abuse.
January 26, 2022 at 11:36 pm
Featured in a recent national childcare report released on Friday, new studies highlight an increase in Black children who are more vulnerable to child abuse-related deaths, despite original reports that showed a significant drop in cases during the beginning of the pandemic.
Overall, this is a troubling find, as experts are now saying that “children were out of the public eye during the pandemic, and some cases likely weren't reported until they became more severe, if at all.”
The recent findings were released in a 2020 Maltreatment report, which showcases information as to why Black children are more vulnerable to child abuse and parental neglect. The report discloses early findings from October 2019 to September 2020 that show how child protective services have been slammed, resulting in slower responses and a decrease in reports being investigated.
“Disparities that were present before the pandemic were intensified, and COVID-19 exposed gaps in our human services delivery system,” Aysha E. Schomburg, of the department's Children’s Bureau, said in a statement.
As we continue to navigate an ongoing pandemic that has resulted in more families needing to stay at home, here are the facts at hand surrounding the nationwide disparity.
Cases of child abuse-related deaths of Black children are notoriously unreported.
Despite recent studies showing an uptick in child abuse-related cases, there is a strong likelihood that there are more cases that still have not been reported. According to Amy Harfeld of the Children’s Advocacy Institute, “The numbers on fatalities, in particular, are concerning, because such cases are notoriously underreported,” she states to ABC News. “Social workers often investigate a child's death only if the family had already been involved with a child welfare agency.”
The report disclosed an overall 10% drop in the number of child protective services cases in the early days of the pandemic.
In addition to commonly unreported cases, a troubling find revealed a 10% drop in the number of child protective service cases offered to suffering families. Service cases include holding investigations to prove whether abuse and/or neglect is present within the household, which solely depends on the severity of the reported abuse. The recent find has been linked to a similar discovery the Associated Press reported last year in an analysis that discloses state child welfare data.
“An Associated Press analysis of state data reveals that the coronavirus pandemic has ripped away several systemic safety nets for millions of Americans — many of them children,” AP reports.
The Associated Press analysis also found that with the decline in reports, investigations and interventions, this new find creates an even higher risk for the most vulnerable, essentially making it more difficult for children to come forward.
Federal officials highlighted a 17% increase in the deaths of Black children.
In recent studies, federal officials highlighted a 4% decrease in child abuse and neglect-related deaths; but released data that showed a 17% increase in the number of Black children that passed away during the pandemic, proving that Black children are three times more likely to die of child abuse compared to their white counterparts.
“The latest report identified 504 Black children who died — 73 more than the previous tally,” ABC News reports.
The agency did not immediately comment on the statewide issue, but broadly acknowledged that more work needs to be done to solve the ongoing disparity.
“While the data in today’s report shows a decrease in child maltreatment, there is still work to do,” said the acting assistant secretary for the Administration for Children and Families, JooYeun Chang.
Studies indicate an 11% increase in the number of babies born with prenatal substance exposure.
In addition to the reports released by the U.S. Department of Health and Services, the Associated Press recently highlighted an overwhelming increase in the number of babies born with prenatal substance exposure, which has been directly linked to a lack of rehab facilities for birth mothers wanting to get help.
The report released last July references new mothers that are vulnerable to a double-edged fate — get help and have their children taken away, or suffer quietly with substance use that so often plagues them and their children.
“With the rise of the opioid epidemic, there has been a growing movement among health care professionals and state social workers to help mothers get sober rather than punish their drug use by taking away their babies, which can have lifelong effects,” AP reports.
As a result of recent studies, reports and expert-conducted data, we are seeing an overwhelming plague on the Black community within the death of Black children caused by abuse and neglect-related incidents — a disparity that continues to be a troubling pattern.