It is difficult to get an accurate picture of the prevalence of child abuse and neglect nationwide because of the number of organizations and agencies which keep such statistics and because we know there are many cases of abuse and neglect which go unreported. Nevertheless, we do know that:
- In 2010, over three million reports of child abuse and neglect were made in the U.S. Approximately 772,000 children were found to have been victims of abuse or neglect.
- 4 children die in the United States each day from abuse or neglect.
- In 2010 in Wisconsin there were:
- 39,706 reports of child abuse
- 1,036 substantiated cases of physical abuse
- 1,400 substantiated cases of sexual abuse
- 45 substantiated cases of emotional abuse
- 2,845 substantiated cases of child neglect
- 19 substantiated cases of a child having died because of child abuse or neglect. The majority of the children (69%) who died were under the age of 1 year
Source: Prevent Child Abuse Wisconsin
In Wisconsin, each county has been delegated the role of investigating reports of child abuse and neglect and providing services to child(ren) and families to ensure the children's immediate safety. In Racine County, the Child Protective Services (CPS) Unit of the Human Services Department, carries out this role. The primary function of the CPS staff is to investigate reports of abuse and neglect of children, to ensure their immediate safety, and to work with family members to address and resolve the parenting issues that may have precipitated the abuse/neglect. Preference is given to providing services to the family while the child is in the home. If safety cannot be assured in the home, however, the child may be temporarily placed in a relatives home or foster care.