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We are pleased to bring you our seventh edition of Fast Facts. This is a brief report on
local data that we believe you will find useful in both understanding and improving the
health of our community. Our goal is to keep it brief and instructive and to provide
opportunities for all persons to positively impact the issue.  


Our topic this time is a very important public health issue: Child Abuse. Please feel free to forward to colleagues, board members and others in the community.
Child Abuse


Abuse affects children of all ages, ethnic backgrounds, socioeconomic groups, and genders. The phrases "child abuse and neglect" and "child maltreatment" are frequently used interchangeably. Most states recognize four major types of child maltreatment: neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse [i].  

  • Neglect is defined as failure to provide for a child's basic needs. Neglect includes: Physical, Medical, Educational and Emotional abuse.
  • Physical abuse is physical injury (ranging from minor bruises to severe fractures or death) as a result of punching, beating, kicking, biting, shaking, throwing, stabbing, choking, hitting (with a hand, stick, strap, or other object), burning, or otherwise harming a child. Such injury is considered abuse regardless of whether the caretaker intended to hurt the child.
  • Sexual abuse includes activities by a parent or caretaker such as fondling a child's genitals, penetration, incest, rape, sodomy, indecent exposure, and exploitation through prostitution or the production of pornographic materials.
  • Emotional abuse is a pattern of behavior that impairs a child's emotional development or sense of self-worth. This may include constant criticism, threats, or rejection, as well as withholding love, support, or guidance. Emotional abuse is often difficult to prove and, therefore, Child Protective Services (CPS) may not be able to intervene without evidence of harm to the child. Emotional abuse is almost always present when other forms are identified.

State Data


Nationally, child abuse and neglect affects over 1 million children every year. In 2010, Indiana had 95,148 total referrals for child abuse and neglect [ii]  Of those, 66,735 reports were referred for investigation. Other data:

  •  In 2010, 23,095 children were victims of abuse or neglect in Indiana. Of these children, 89.0% were neglected, 11.1 % were physically abused and 16.2% were sexually abused.
  • The number of child victims has increased 10.4% in comparison to the number of victims in 2006.
  • In 2010, 17 children in Indiana died as a result of abuse or neglect.
  • The number of children living apart from their families in out-of-home care has increased 7.7% in comparison to the number of children in out-of-home care in 2006.
  • Of Indiana children in out-of-home care in 2010, 59.5% were white, 25.9% black, 7.6% Hispanic, 0.0% American Indian/Alaskan Native, 0.3% Asian or Pacific Islander and 6.3% of more than one race or ethnicity



 Child abuse and neglect costs our nation $220 million every day. This includes costs for:

  • Investigations
  • Foster care
  • Medical and mental health treatment
  • Special education
  • Juvenile and adult crime
  • Chronic health problems
  • Other costs across the life span

It is estimated we paid a staggering $80 BILLION to address child abuse and neglect in 2012.


But even more importantly, abuse has significant consequences to our children:[i]

  • The immediate physical effects of abuse or neglect can be relatively minor (bruises or cuts) or severe (broken bones, hemorrhage, or even death). In some cases the physical effects are temporary; however, the pain and suffering they cause a child should not be discounted.
  • Child abuse and neglect have been shown, in some cases, to cause important regions of the brain to fail to form properly, resulting in impaired physical, mental and emotional development.
  • The immediate emotional effects of abuse and neglect -- isolation, fear, and an inability to trust -- can translate into lifelong consequences including low self-esteem, depression and relationship difficulties.
  • The National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being recently found children placed in out-of-home care due to abuse or neglect tended to score lower than the general population on measures of cognitive capacity, language development and academic achievement.
  • Studies have found abused and neglected children to be at least 25 percent more likely to experience problems such as delinquency, teen pregnancy, low academic achievement, drug use and mental health problems.
  • A National Institute of Justice study indicated being abused or neglected as a child increased the likelihood of arrest as a juvenile by 59 percent. Abuse and neglect increased the likelihood of adult criminal behavior by 28 percent and violent crime by 30 percent.
  • Research consistently reflects an increased likelihood that abused and neglected children will smoke cigarettes, abuse alcohol, or take illicit drugs. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, as many as two-thirds of people in drug treatment programs reported being abused as children.
  • It is estimated approximately one-third of abused and neglected children will eventually victimize their own children.

What You Can Do


 As a health care provider: 


 If you suspect that a child is being harmed, please report your concerns to the appropriate authorities. You may call your local child protective services (CPS) or the police department.

The role of the physician includes preventing child abuse and detecting and treating victims of child physical abuse when it occurs. The physician's ability to recognize suspicious injuries, conduct a thorough physical examination, and evaluate the validity of the caregivers' explanation for the child's injuries is important in detecting child abuse. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that physicians ensure that a patient who is a victim of child physical abuse receives proper medical assessment, stabilization, and referrals to investigative agencies and necessary follow-up services, which include patient and family referrals to appropriate psychological professionals.


As a parent:    


If you suspect that a child is being harmed, please report your concerns to the appropriate authorities. You may call your local child protective services (CPS) or the police department.  


As a funder or public official:    


If you suspect that a child is being harmed, please report your concerns to the appropriate authorities. You may call your local child protective services (CPS) or the police department. 


Child Protection Conference

Parkview Women's and Children's Hospital, Indiana University School of Medicine, Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health and the Indiana Department of Child Services will host two conferences on child abuse and neglect.

Wednesday, April 10
Ceruti's Reception Hall, 6601 Innovation Blvd., Fort Wayne

11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.: for clinicians and non-clinicians who work with children
:45 p.m. to 8 p.m.: for physicians, mid-level practitioners and board member

The event is free for all attendees. Lunch will be provided in the first session, and dinner will be served in the evening session.  

Topics include:  

  • Identifying and reporting suspected maltreatment
  • Child sexual abuse: the medical provider's role
  • Burns and fractures
  • Abusive head trauma
  • Physical injuries in infants
  • What happens after a report is made

For more information, contact Lisa Hollister, Parkview Trauma program manager, at 



Other Resources:

  • Allen County Department of Child Services: (260) 458-6100
  • Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline: 1-800 800-5556
  • SCAN (Stop Child Abuse and Neglect) works to eliminate the abuse and neglect of children through family services, education and community partnerships. Also offers parents help with situations that are interfering with their ability to manage their families so as to strengthen the family and prevent child abuse or neglect. Families can self refer to SCAN, or be referred by an agency. Contact them at (260) 421-5000.
  • Dr. Bill Lewis Center for Children is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide neutral, child-friendly forensic interviews and interagency, comprehensive assessments of reported child sexual abuse victims. They serve eight counties in northeast Indiana, including Allen County. Contact them at (260) 407-5437.
Fast Facts is a collaboration of the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health and
United Way of Allen County 2-1-1
  Contact Deborah McMahan, MD or John Silcox
 c/o Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health