December 18, 2014

AP Impact: Abused Kids Die As Officials Fail To Protect

The AP published this article today after having conducted an eight-month study of all 50 states to determine that officials often fail to protect abused children. I beg all of you, especially those who keep suggesting that my sisters merely have to talk to DCFS to find safety, to read it and educate yourselves.

Here are a few of the statements made in the article that stand out:

BUTTE, Montana (AP) — At least 786 children died of abuse or neglect in the U.S. in a six-year span in plain view of child protection authorities — many of them beaten, starved or left alone to drown while agencies had good reason to know they were in danger, The Associated Press has found.
Many factors can contribute to the abuse dilemma nationwide: The child protective services system is plagued with worker shortages and a serious overload of cases. Budgets are tight, and nearly 40 percent of the 3 million child abuse and neglect complaints made annually to child protective services hotlines are "screened out" and never investigated.

Also, insufficient training for those who answer child abuse hotlines leads to reports being misclassified, sometimes with deadly consequences; a lack of a comprehensive national child welfare database allows some abusers to avoid detection by moving to different states; and a policy that promotes keeping families intact can play a major role in the number of deaths. [emphasis added]
Because no single, complete set of data exists for the deaths of children who already were being overseen by child welfare caseworkers, the information compiled over the course of AP's eight-month investigation represents the most comprehensive statistics publicly available. The data collection system on child deaths is so flawed that no one can even say with accuracy how many children overall die from abuse or neglect every year. The federal government estimates an average of about 1,650 deaths annually in recent years; many believe the actual number is twice as high.

"We all agree that we cannot solve a problem this complex until we agree it exists," said David Sanders, chairman of the federal Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities, whose members are traveling the country studying child deaths under a congressional mandate.


  1. When I reported my abuse to a teacher, she told the principal, who then called social services. My brother and I came home from school to find a social worker sitting on our porch. We were latch key kids and so my parents weren't home. She told me what a great job I did in telling the teacher and told me it was ok to talk about it. I was 9 years old. Immediately, feeling free of this burden I carried for over a year, I went to my friends house and told her all about it. I was so happy I could finally say something. Well, she went and told people and next thing I knew, the parents of the man who had abused me came to my house, screaming every obscenity you can think of. My parents still not home. Then other neighbors got involved and kept telling me "this isn't something to lie about" and "Do you know how much trouble he's in now because of your lie?" It was horrifying. My dad pulled up and was greeted by the neighbors, his friends. Before he had a chance to talk with me, they had told him everything. He grounded me to my room for lying and not telling him first. My mom got home and was greeted by the same people. She sat on my bed, asked for the story and said "well I don't think he'd do that." The social worker never contacted my parents and I never seen or heard from her again. My mom talked to many of my friends and babysitters and apparently, throughout the year, I had mentioned stuff about my abuse to some of them. However, it wasn't until one of my mom's friends said to her "what is wrong with you? Kids don't lie about this kind of stuff and they certainly don't have that kind of detail." She asked my mom to leave her home and told her she was ashamed of her. My mom came to me and told me she was very sorry and she believed me. My dad continued a friendship with the man. Needless to say, my mom packed my brother and I up and we moved to Utah. The man never suffered any consequences and I later learned he had done the same thing to other girls in our neighborhood. My point to this is; had that social worker known what she was doing she would have handled my situation much differently. She made a report but there was never any follow through. I got lost in the system and hung out to dry. It forever changed me. I know first hand how horrible the system is. Thank you, Brittany for sticking up for yourself and for your sisters. With you by their side, they will never slip through the cracks again!

    1. I'm so sorry that this happened to you. I think you're so brave for sharing your story. People want to naively believe that children aren't falling through the cracks when they come forward to tell about their abuse, but it happens every day. :( Hugs to you.

    2. Wow, thank you so much for sharing this. It takes a lot of courage to come forward with experiences that are so difficult, and even traumatizing, to recount. I share in your pain. It's so hard because of the fact that every adult who surrounded you didn't believe you, or minimized. I don't think people realize what that can do to a child.

    3. I hear this story all too often. It is happening people and there are people who try to silence the advocates of children who report abuse. I am so sorry for what you went through. So sorry.

  2. Thank you for sharing this information, Brittany. People would be stunned and appalled if they were aware of the level of negligence and corruption taking place within the family court system. It's such a devastating problem that needs to be addressed; children's lives literally depend on it.
    You and your sisters are in my prayers daily. You are such courageous, strong and inspiring young women. Please know that you have many people who believe in you and support you. You have truth and righteousness on your side, so please stay strong and never give up!

    "A study of 300 cases over a 10-year period in which the mother sought to protect the child from sexual abuse, found that 70% resulted in unsupervised visitation or shared custody; in 20% of the cases the mothers completely lost custody, and many of these lost all visitation rights."