Why is this important?
Child abuse and neglect rates are critical to the overall health
of our community as they can help predict the needs of families
and can help the community in tailoring services to meet these needs.
What is the measure?
The rates and types of child abuse/neglect are tracked in Child
Welfare Service/Case Management System, a statewide Child Welfare
database. The system also includes information on whether the abuse
was substantiated, inconclusive, or unfounded.
How are we doing?
While the number of child abuse/neglect investigations has remained
relatively constant over the past several years, these numbers have
declined compared to years prior. There has also been a slight reduction
in the number of substantiated cases. These reductions could be
indicators of recent efforts within the County to focus on child
abuse prevention and on prosecution.
One such movement known as "Differential Response" allows
Social Workers and other service providers to reach out to families
and refer them to appropriate resources before their situation rises
to an unsafe level. Though the County’s child abuse/neglect
rates are higher than the California average, this statistic may
represent a local philosophy of proactive child protection practices.
Because drug use is a major factor in cases of
child abuse/neglect, Child Welfare Services works closely with local
Law Enforcement officials on cases involving parental substance abuse.