2017-2019 Substantiated child abuse and/or neglect victims by County in Maine

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Why This Indicator Matters

All children deserve to grow up in homes that are safe and emotionally nurturing. Children who experience adverse childhood experiences such as physical and emotional abuse have difficulty in school, and have more issues in mental health and physical health both as children and as adults. Although we hope substantiated child abuse goes down because there is less child abuse in families, it could also mean that the resources to investigate and evaluate reports of child abuse are inadequate to accurately assess the cases that are referred for investigation.

What the data shows
Overall, the number  of substantiated child abuse victims from 2017 to 2019 increased from 3,292 victims to 4,547 victims, or an increase of 38 % over two years. The state rate is 18.3 per 1,000 children, or 1.8%. Between 2018 and 2019, five counties saw decreases and eleven counties saw increasing rates of child abuse.

At the county level, in 2019, Somerset, Piscataquis,  and Aroostook Counties had the highest rates of child abuse at 42.2 and 30.3 and 29.5 per 1,000 children respectively. In 2019, Cumberland County had a rate of 6.8 per 1,000 children and Lincoln County was the only other county below 10 per 1,000 children, at 9.9 per 1,000 children.
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Data Provided By

Definitions: The number and rate of individual victims of child abuse and neglect ages 0-17 for whom assessment led to a finding of a threat to a child’s health or welfare by physical, mental or emotional injury or impairment, sexual abuse or exploitation, deprivation of essential needs or lack of protection from these by a person responsible for the child (22 MRSA §4002). The numerator is the unique number of children in a calendar year who are victims of child maltreatment as defined above and the denominator is the number of children in the state ages 0 -17. The rate is per 1,000 children ages 0-17. Data is for calendar years.

Data Source: Maine DHHS, Office of Child & Family Services, Division of Child Welfare

Footnotes: County refers to where the child abuse occurred, not to the county where the child abuse victim may have been subsequently placed.

Update April 2020