Change Indicator

Children who are confirmed by child protective services as victims of maltreatment by race and Hispanic origin in United States

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Definition and Source



Victimized children include those who are the subject of at least one substantiated or indicated maltreatment report, and/or who were identified as alternative response victims. Rates of maltreated children are per 1,000 children less than 18 years old. It is important to note that the numbers presented here cannot include victimized children who have never been made known to the system through a maltreatment report. Because of this, and because of state differences in policies and practices—including variations in the legal definitions of maltreatment—readers should exercise caution in interpreting trends and in making state-by-state comparisons.

To the extent possible, we use the same definition of substantiation as the Child Maltreatment report. Unlike many of the tabulations in Child Maltreatment our analyses examined the number of children who were maltreated, not the number of maltreatment incidents. Since a child can be the subject of more than one maltreatment incident, the numbers of children in each category presented here will be smaller than Child Maltreatment’s tabulations pertaining to numbers of incidents. Cases of maltreatment where the victim was not yet born, or was more than 17 years old are not included.  State estimates are shown only for states with valid data. The state is suppressed on records for fatalities on the publicly-available NCANDS file in order to protect confidentiality. Of all the fatalities, some had prior investigations (in the same fiscal year) for maltreatment reports and others did not.  Prior to 2010, fatalities were included in our National totals. Beginning in 2010, our national total includes the fatalities if they also had a prior investigation report which was not associated with a fatality, but otherwise fatalities are excluded. We made this exclusion because it is not possible on the public-use file to identify which of the children who died also have a record indicating a prior maltreatment investigation, and because we found that National totals are closer to Child Maltreatment published estimates with this approach (i.e., national estimates are overestimated to a greater degree when fatalities are included than the degree to which they are underestimated if fatalities are excluded).  Due to missing state data, National totals are not provided before 2004. National estimates include Puerto Rico after 2005.

Data Source

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau.  National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) Child File, FFY 2000–2015.

NCANDS data used with permission from Cornell University’s National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect website,  The collector of the original data, the funding agency, NDACAN, Cornell University, and the agents or employees of these institutions bear no responsibility for the analyses or interpretations presented here.


Updated May 2018.
National estimates include cases where the location is unidentified.
N.A. – Data not available.
N.R. - No data are available.

Last Updated

May 2018