Child Abuse Report: Deaths of Black Children Up During COVID-19 Pandemic 

In Summary

Even though there was a 4% decrease in child abuse, there was a 17% increase in the number of Black children who died in 2020 compared to 2019.

The latest national child welfare report highlights an increase in the number of Black children who have passed away, despite fewer abuse-related fatalities being investigated in the yearlong period including the first several months of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to The Associated Press

The results have been released in the 2020 Child Maltreatment Report, which was issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It covers data from October 2019 to September 2020 and only partly reflects how COVID-19 interfered in the work of child welfare

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“The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted children and families involved in the child welfare system, as well as the professionals working with these families. Disparities that were present before the pandemic were intensified, and COVID-19 exposed gaps in our human services delivery system,” said Aysha E. Schomburg, associate commissioner of the Children’s Bureau, in a statement.  

There was an overall 10% decrease in the number of child protective services cases handled by states in the early part of the pandemic. 

Even though there was a 4% decrease in child abuse, there was a 17% increase in the number of Black children who died in 2020 compared to 2019, according to The Associated Press. 

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The report highlighted 504 Black children who died and it means that Black children are three times more likely to die of child abuse than white children. 

“While the data in today’s report shows a decrease in child maltreatment, there is still work to do,” said ACF Acting Assistant Secretary JooYeun Chang in a statement. “One thing hasn’t changed – the vast majority of children come to our attention because of neglect — we must do more to provide services and supports to families before problems, often related to or exacerbated by poverty become crisis.” 

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