2017-2020 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 children with substantiated child maltreatment increased  increased from 3,292 children to 4,388 children between 2017 and 2020, or an increase of 33% over three years. 2019 was the highest year, however, with 4,547 children who experienced substantiated abuse.. The state rate for 2020 is 17.6 per 1,000 children, or 1.8%. Between 2019 and 2020, seven counties saw increasing rates and nine counties saw decreasing rates of child abuse. Waldo County had the biggest increases of children who had experienced substantiated child maltreatment.

At the county level, in 2020, the rural counties of  Aroostook, Waldo and Somerset Counties had the highest rates of substantiated child abuse at 32.3 and 30.5 and 28.4 per 1,000 children respectively. In 2020, Cumberland County had the lowest rate of child abuse 6.5 per 1,000 children  while Sagadahoc County had the second lowest rate at, 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 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 August 2021