Researchers in Philadelphia report a strong link between rates of hospital admissions for serious child abuse and local mortgage foreclosures.
The new analysis from the PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia stands in contrast to other national statistics that show child abuse overall has declined. It also raises red flags about how well social service agencies and others are protecting vulnerable children, particularly in regions hard-hit by the recession.
The study, which reviewed hospital data over a 10-year-period, from 2000-2009, included 11,822 admissions for physical abuse of children under 6 years old.
From the news release:
The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, found a strong relationship between the rate of child physical abuse and local mortgage foreclosures, which have been a hallmark of the recent recession. The CHOP findings, based on data from 38 children’s hospitals, contradict national child welfare data, which show a decline in child physical abuse over the same period…
According to the study, overall physical abuse increased by 0.79 percent, and traumatic brain injury increased by 3 percent per year between 2000 and 2009, while overall injury rates fell by 0.8 percent per year over the same time period. The researchers found that each 1 percent increase in 90-day mortgage delinquencies over a one-year period was associated with a 3 percent increase in hospital admissions due to child physical abuse and a 5 percent increase in admissions due to traumatic brain injury suspected to be child abuse. (My bold.)
Pediatrician Joanne Wood, the lead author of the study and an attending physician at CHOP said she and colleagues embarked on the study after hearing stories from other doctors around the country about increases in serious child abuse cases — including children with traumatic brain injuries, fractures and other injuries requiring hospitalization. Continue reading