Monday, February 6, 2012

Child Abuse Wrong But Also Expensive, Per CDC Report

Compared with other health problems, the burden of child maltreatment is substantial, indicating the importance of prevention efforts to address the high prevalence of child maltreatment.

A newly released study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)  estimates that the average lifetime cost per victim of nonfatal child maltreatment is $210,012 in 2010 dollars, including $32,648 in childhood health care costs; $10,530 in adult medical costs; $144,360 in productivity losses; $7,728 in child welfare costs; $6,747 in criminal justice costs; and $7,999 in special education costs. The estimated average lifetime cost per death is $1,272,900, including $14,100 in medical costs and $1,258,800 in productivity losses. The total lifetime economic burden resulting from new cases of fatal and nonfatal child maltreatment in the United States in 2008 is approximately $124 billion. In sensitivity analysis, the total burden is estimated to be as large as $585 billion.  

The study highlights some evidence-based strategies for addressing CM, including a promising array of prevention and intervention programs with great potential to reduce the economic burden of maltreatment. Although longitudinal research on the economic burden of fatal and non-fatal CM is still very limited, the study suggests that in economic terms the burden is so substantial that the benefits of prevention will likely outweigh the costs for effective programs according to The Child Welfare League of America.

CHILD MALTREATMENT has been shown to have lifelong adverse health, social, and economic consequences for survivors, including behavioral problems ( [Felitti et al., 1998] and [Repetti et al., 2002]); mental health conditions such as posttraumatic stress disorder ( [Browne and Finkelhor, 1986], [Holmes and Sammel, 2005] and [Moeller et al., 1993]); increased risk for delinquency, adult criminality, and violent behavior ( [Fang and Corso, 2007] and [0265]); increased risk of chronic diseases ( [Browne and Finkelhor, 1986] and [Felitti et al., 1998]); lasting impacts or disability from physical injury (Dominguez, Chalom, & Costarino, 2001); reduced health-related quality of life (Corso, Edwards, Fang, & Mercy, 2008); and lower levels of adult economic well-being (Currie & Widom, 2010). Given the high prevalence of child maltreatment and the many negative short- and long-term consequences of child maltreatment, the economic costs of child maltreatment may be substantial. Estimating the economic burden of child maltreatment is important for several reasons. Economic estimates can help to increase awareness of the current severity of child maltreatment, place the problem in the context of other public health concerns, and may be used in economic evaluation of interventions to reduce or prevent child maltreatment. (see original)

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