Financial Crisis Could Be Raising Child Abuse Rate

The financial crisis that has engulfed the nation over the past few years has had an additional negative consequence, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics: a rise in physical child abuse.

The study, which focused specifically on mortgage foreclosures, was conducted by researchers at the PolicyLab at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.  It found that every 1 percent increase in 90-day mortgage delinquencies over a one-year period was associated with a 3 percent increase in children’s hospital admissions for physical child abuse, and a 5 percent increase in children’s hospital admissions for traumatic brain injuries suspected to be caused by child abuse.

“What this research shows is that there’s a connection between child abuse and families in financial crisis,” said Bruce Lesley, president of the child advocacy group First Focus, in a statement. “Unfortunately, Congress may make the problem worse with cuts to child nutrition, children’s health, childcare, and family tax credits. If Congressional leaders don’t protect these investments today, the danger to kids will increase when parents are pushed into crisis. Lawmakers need to understand that decisions about nutrition, health, and poverty, are also decisions about child abuse and neglect.”

Image: Family finances design, via Shutterstock

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