Change Indicator

Child Abuse and Reabuse Rates - Percent of substantiated cases in Pennsylvania

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Why This Indicator Matters

Pennsylvania has a differential response system for reporting and responding to child abuse and neglect reports.  Reports are classified, depending on their degree of severity, as either Child Protective Service (CPS) reports or General Protective Service (GPS) reports.  CPS reports include sexual abuse, physical abuse or serious physical neglect.  GPS reports include less severe reports of general neglect (e.g. lack of adequate housing, truancy, parent-child conflict, etc.).  Only CPS reports are tracked in the ChildLine and Abuse Registry. 2015 was the first year that General Protective Services reports were collected by the Department of Human Services (DHS). In prior years, this information was not required to be submitted to DHS and was maintained only by county children and youth agencies. County children and youth agencies provide many families with services in the Commonwealth following GPS assessments.
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Definition and Source



Reported Cases of Child Abuse includes the reported incidents of suspected child abuse and neglect through the Childline and Abuse Registry.  It does not include General Protective Service reports which include less severe general neglect reports.

The rate per 1,000 children was calculated by dividing the suspected cases by the child population from birth through age 17.

Substantiated Cases of Child Abuse includes founded or indicated reports of child abuse and neglect.  It does not include the number of children determined to need general protective services.

Substantiation Rate - calculated by dividing the child abuse reports by child abuse substantiations.

Cases of Reabuse (Repeated Child Abuse) includes children with another substantiated incident of abuse following the first reported incident.

Reabuse Rate - calculated by dividing the reported cases of reabuse by substantiated cases of reabuse.

Data Source

Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, Office of Children, Youth and Families, Annual Child Abuse Report (2006-2014) and Annual Child Protective Services Report (2015 - current) extracted from the ChildLine and Abuse Registry.
U.S. Bureau of the Census.


Substantiated cases of child abuse and neglect are incidents of abuse that have been determined to meet Pennsylvania's CPS Law.  Following a CPS investigation, a determination is made as to whether the child abuse report is substantiated.  This determination can be made by the county child welfare agency (referred to as an indicated report) or by the courts (referred to as a founded report).

Reabuse - It is not accurate to assume that the victim of repeated abuse is always where a child was a victim of multiple incidents of abuse.  Child reabuse can include cases of previously unreported incidents that become known and recorded during an investigation.  These incidents are registered on ChildLine and handled as separate reports.  A child may also be abused in one county and then move to another county and become a victim of abuse again.  The statistics on reabuse should be understood in this context and they may include overstated data.

Updated October 2022.

Last Updated

October 2022