Why is this important?
Child abuse and neglect rates are critical to determining the overall health of our community. Rates of abuse can assist with identifying and addressing the root causes of abuse such as poverty, lack of affordable housing, child care, job opportunities, and the prevalence of drug abuse.
What is the measure?
The rates and types of child abuse/neglect are tracked in Child Welfare Service/Case Management System (CWS/ CMS), a statewide Child Welfare database. The system also includes information on whether the abuse was substantiated, inconclusive, or unfounded.
How are we doing?
The substantiated child abuse/neglect rates increased over the past three years, while the actual numbers of child abuse dispositions appear to be relatively constant. This may be an indicator that the community needs to increase the level of abuse prevention services available to parents.
Though the County’s child abuse/neglect rates are higher than the California average, the statistics may reflect a local philosophy of proactive child protection. Tuolumne County Child Welfare Services provides a face-to-face social worker response to a large percentage of its abuse reports. As we continue to work towards strengthening the families in our community through collaborative efforts from service providers, it is likely that substantiated abuse may begin to decrease as more families are supported with the help of community resources.