Measuring costs of child abuse and neglect : a mathematic model of specific cost estimations.
University of New Haven.
Published: Summer 2006
Journal of Health and Human Services Administration
Vol. 29, No. 1/2 , p. 103-123
Southern Public Administration Education Foundation
2103 Fairway Lane
Harrisburg, PA 17112
Sponsoring Organization: University of Hartford. Center for Social Research.
Few empirical facts exist regarding the actual costs of child abuse in the United States. Consistent data is not available for national or even statewide analysis. Clearly there is a need for such accounting in order to fully understand the damage created by child abuse and neglect. Policy makers and social welfare planners should take child abuse costs into consideration when determining expenditures for prevention and intervention programs. The real savings may far outweigh the costs of such programs when both direct and indirect costs of child abuse and neglect enter into the analysis. This paper offers a model in which the actual costs of child abuse and neglect, based on direct, indirect, and opportunity costs associated with each case. Direct costs are those associated with the treatment of abused and neglected children as well as the costs of family intervention programs or foster care. Indirect costs are costs to society created by the negative effects of child abuse and neglect evinced by individuals who suffer such abuse and then as teens or adults engage in criminal behavior. Indirect costs also derive from the long term and ongoing health care needs required by victims of abuse, for both physical and mental health disorders. With the existence of this model, the author hopes to stimulate the discussion and desire for better data collection and analysis. In order to demonstrate the utility of the model, the author has included some cost estimates from the Connecticut State Department of Children and Families and the works of other scholars looking into the question of costs for child abuse and neglect. This data represents the best available at this time. As a result, the model appearing here is specific to Connecticut. Even so, once more valid data becomes available, the model's structure and theoretical framework should adapt to the needs of other states to facilitate better measurement of relevant costs and provide a clearer picture of the utility of investment in the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect. (Author abstract)
costs of victimization; models; connecticut