Costs of Child Maltreatment

Scroll down to see Arizona Costs

There are direct costs to address immediate needs of the abused or neglected, but also indirect costs that result from long term effects of child abuse and neglect. In 2007, it is estimated that child abuse and neglect cost society $103.8 billion. This cost does not include family intervention or treatment and incarceration of perpetrators. It is estimated that:

* 3.8 million children received prevention services (50.2 per 1,000 children)

* 1,046,179 (41.9%) received in-home post-investigation services

* 271,000 received foster care services

* 757,000 non-survivors (family members, etc.) received in-home post-investigation services

* 269,000 children were removed from their homes and non-victims (8%) were also removed for safety reasons

* 20.7% of children removed were placed in foster care.

* Court-appointed representatives were assigned to 14.6% of survivors

* 23.1% of survivors received family preservation services and 6.2 % received reunification services (Wang & Holton, 2007).
In 2007, the numbers of children in “out of home care” slightly increased to 9,773. In addition:

* 3,137 were in relative placements

* 705 were in a shelter over 21 days

* Arizona children receiving preventative services were 51,055 or 30.6 per 1,000 children

* The same year, 72,375 child survivors and non-victims received post-investigation services at 96.1% and 89.2% respectively.

* Out of 4,025 survivors, 2,263 (56.2%) received in-home services

* Out of 72,375 non-victims, 59,599 (82.3%) received in-home services with a total of 61,862 (81%) children receiving in-home services

* There were 1,089 (27.1%) children receiving court action and 1,512 (37.6%) with court appointed representation

Of course, with all these services, a big price tag is attached to them.

Let’s bring this closer to home…..


To bring this closer to home, $322,184,769 (63% from federal funds, 37% from state funds) was spent in Arizona on child welfare services in 2004. Child welfare services consist of direct and administrative services from state agencies (Andrews-Scarcella, C., Roseana, B., Zielewski, H. & Geen, R., 2006). There were 9,685 children in AZ who had to live separate from their families in 2005 with 41.9% of these children under the age of five (Administration on Children, Youth & Families, (ACYF), 2006).

The Arizona Department of Economic Security’s Joint Legislative Budget Committee
Summary of 2006 listed Arizona’s costs as follows:

* CPS emergency placement $7,539,500

* CPS residential placement $19,825,000

* Family builders program $4,208,200

* Intensive family services $1,985,600

* CPS expedited substance abuse treatment fund deposit $224,500

* CPS appeals $667,600

* Employee related expenditures $14,859,100

* Professional and outside services $1,715,200

* In-state travel $1,509,800

* Other operating expenditures $3,602,700

* Equipment $3,330,800

* Foster care placement $10,947,200

* Healthy families $10,749,800

* Homeless youth intervention $379,700

Portions of these costs were also spent on families involved in the child welfare system:

* Portions of personal services $45,193,600

* Comprehensive medical and dental program $1,145,600

* Joint substance Abuse Treatment Fund – TANF Deposit $1,886,700

* Joint Substance Abuse Treatment Fund – State General Fund $3,057,700

* Permanent Guardianship Subsidy $4,544,100

* Adoption Services $34,836,100

* Attorney General Legal Services $8,515,300 (Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES), 2008).

Besides these costs, there are others that are not measurable. It is not possible to calculate pain, suffering and the consequences of a reduced quality of life. These are intangible losses that should not be overlooked and should be taken into account. Deborah Daro writes in Confronting Child Abuse: Research for Effective Program Design, “Confronting the child abuse crisis is costly. Ignoring the direct and indirect expenditures associate with attempts to resolve this social problem will not make the task less costly nor will it result in the most efficient practice choices” (1988).

Conversely, preventing abuse injuries can result in considerable savings in taxpayer dollars. With each service (other than CPS appeals) reaching costs of well over a million dollars, one may wonder why Arizona spent a mere $72,200 in 2008 on child abuse and neglect prevention programs (DES, 2008).