2003 November 30 Sunday
Child Abuse Dropped In US After 1996 Welfare Reform

Contrary to various liberal predictions to the contrary welfare reform did not cause an increase in child abuse.

PHILADELPHIA -- Despite predictions to the contrary, the incidence of child abuse did not rise with the implementation of welfare reform.

After analyzing data from a number of national sources on child abuse and neglect, Richard J. Gelles, dean of the School of Social Work at the University of Pennsylvania, concluded that, not only did maltreatment of children in the United States not increase after the 1996 passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, the opposite happened.

"All the doomsday scenarios predicting that families, and especially children, would be direct victims of this legislation just didn't happen," Gelles said.

Among the data sources Gelles used in his research were the National Incidence Survey of Reported and Recognized Child Maltreatment, the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System, Prevent Child Abuse America Reports from the States and the State Automated Child Welfare Information System.

The rate of confirmed child maltreatment, according to the NCANDS data, increased from 1990 to 1993, decreased slightly between 1993 and 1996 and then declined steeply between 1996 and 1999 before increasing again in 2000. Reports of child abuse and neglect have stabilized at about 3 million children per year.

Could it be that forcing people to take responsibility for earning a living caused them to become more responsible toward their children as well?

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 November 30 02:58 PM  Human Nature


Comments
Bob Badour said at November 30, 2003 3:32 PM:

Could it be that forcing people to take responsibility for earning a living caused them to become more responsible toward their children as well?

Nah! Removing the potential offenders for eight hours a day to earn a living reduces the opportunity for abuse. I am sure they are the same low-life they always were.

Proborders said at December 2, 2003 9:02 AM:

Randall,

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate among those 16 and older (unemployment rate) was higher in 1993 than in 1990. The unemployment rate decreased from 1992 to 2000. It has increased from 2000 to 2003.

I think that changes in the unemployment rate can help explain why the rate of child abuse increased from 1990 to 1993 and then decreased from 1993 to 1996 and from 1996 to 1999. Perhaps in 2000 it was more difficult for many people to find a job than in 1999. From December 2001 to October 2003 the unemployment rate has to a great extent stabilized.


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