Five Sobering Statistics Concerning Child Abuse & Neglect

National Child Abuse Prevention Month

April marks the observance of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness about the profound impact of abuse and neglect on children’s lives and promoting efforts to prevent such tragedies. The services we provide at LFCS aim to eliminate child abuse and neglect, but there is much work to be done. The statistics surrounding child maltreatment are not only alarming but also serve as a poignant reminder of the urgent need for action. Let’s delve into five sobering statistics concerning child abuse and neglect in Missouri and the nation as a whole:

Prevalence of Child Abuse and Neglect in Missouri: In Missouri alone, thousands of children fall victim to abuse and neglect each year. According to recent data from the Missouri Department of Social Services, Child Protective Services receives over 70,000 reports per year of suspected child abuse or neglect in the state. This staggering number underscores the widespread nature of this issue and the need for LFCS’ proven services to expand throughout the state.

Source: US. Dept of Health & Human Services

National Incidence Rates: While the focus on Missouri is crucial, zooming out to a national perspective reveals the pervasive nature of child maltreatment across the United States. The National Children’s Alliance estimated that more than 600,000 children were victims of abuse and neglect in the United States in 2021 alone. While the vast majority of these cases were child neglect (76%), slightly over 1,800 resulted in children dying from abuse. Further national statistics show that abuse and neglect affected children indiscriminate of gender, race, socio-economic status or religion.

Consequences on Mental Health: Child abuse and neglect can have profound and lasting effects on children’s mental health. Studies have shown that individuals who have experienced childhood maltreatment are at increased risk of developing mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In Missouri, research indicates that nearly 40% of children who have been abused or neglected will experience mental health challenges later in life, emphasizing the critical importance of early intervention and support services. LFCS’s wrap-around approach to care allows us to address the multiple challenges our clients face to ensure stability and future success.

Long-term Impact on Education: The repercussions of child abuse and neglect extend beyond psychological harm, often manifesting in educational setbacks and diminished academic achievement. Research conducted by organizations like Child Trends reveals that maltreated children are more likely to struggle academically, exhibit behavioral problems in school, and have lower graduation rates compared to their peers. In Missouri, approximately 50% of children who have experienced abuse or neglect will face academic challenges that hinder their educational attainment.

Source: The International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect

Intersecting Factors: Poverty and Substance Abuse: Child abuse and neglect are complex issues influenced by various factors, including socioeconomic conditions and substance abuse within families. Our team of social workers and case managers understand these complexities and work with our clients to find solutions to these problems. In Missouri, poverty and substance abuse contribute significantly to the risk of maltreatment. Statistics from the Missouri Children’s Division indicate that a substantial proportion of child welfare cases involve families grappling with poverty-related stressors or substance use disorders. Addressing the root causes of these challenges while supporting our clients through our one-on-one approach gives our clients confidence that they can provide a life of love, security, and optimism for themselves and their family.

Our Parenting, Foster Care, Adoption, and Behavioral Health services all treat the impact of child abuse and neglect within our communities. Please join us this month in keeping kids safe throughout Missouri. With your support, we can ensure that every child in need can access these life-changing services. Please visit to help keep kids safe across Missouri.