Cost-of-injury analysis (also referred to as cost-of-illness or cost-of-failure analysis) attempts to estimate the economic impact of child abuse and neglect on society (or on a local community). In other words, how much does it cost when a community fails to prevent child abuse and neglect?
These analyses frequently estimate both direct and indirect costs associated with child maltreatment. Direct costs include those associated with addressing the immediate needs of maltreated children. They might include:
- Hospitalization for severe injuries resulting from abuse and neglect
- Medical treatment (such as physician visits, emergency department visits, outpatient clinics, dental visits, physical therapy, etc.) for health problems resulting from abuse and neglect
- Mental health treatment for issues resulting from abuse and neglect
- Child welfare services to intervene in existing cases of child abuse and neglect
- Law enforcement and judicial system costs associated with intervention
Indirect costs include those associated with the long-term and secondary effects of maltreatment, as well as productivity losses for the abused child (missing school) or parent/caretaker (needing to attend criminal hearings or stay home with an injured child). Examples of indirect costs include:
- Special education costs
- Treatment for chronic physical and mental health problems as a result of child abuse and neglect
- Costs of increased juvenile delinquency and adult criminality
- Lost productivity to society (due to decreased earning potential, unemployment, or premature death)
- Costs associated with treatment of increased substance abuse
- Costs associated with interventions for domestic violence resulting from child maltreatment
Estimated Annual Cost of Child Abuse and Neglect (PDF - 409 KB)
Gelle & Perlman (2012)
Prevent Child Abuse America
Outlines the direct and indirect costs of responding to the consequences of child abuse and neglect incurred by the victims, their families, and society.
Paying Later: The High Costs of Failing to Invest in Young Children (PDF - 220 KB)
Pew Center on the States, Partnership for America's Economic Success (2011)
Reports the findings of a study that explored the social costs caused by an array of bad outcomes, including child abuse and neglect, high school dropouts, criminal activity, teen pregnancy, drug and alcohol abuse, and other health problems, and how these costs could be reduced by investing in evidence-based early childhood programs.
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Response
University of Albany & Prevent Child Abuse America
Seeks to connect research data and its potential for real-world application to prevent adverse childhood experiences and their consequences through policy and program leadership, community development, and direct practice.
Cost of Child Abuse and Neglect Rival Other Major Public Health Problems
Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2012)
Presents new estimates of the average lifetime costs per child maltreatment victim and aggregate lifetime costs for all new child maltreatment cases incurred in 2008 using an incidence-based approach.
Dollars and Lives: The Economics of Healthy Children (PDF - 115 KB)
Summarizes the cost to society of adults who were victims of child abuse and neglect, including effects on the labor force and long-term economic growth.
Infographic: Preventing Costly Child Abuse
The Pew Center on States
Presents statistics on child maltreatment with facts on the effectiveness of home visiting.
Saving Lives, Saving Dollars: Mitigating the Impact of Child Maltreatment (PDF - 318 KB)
Department of Extension Home Economics, New Mexico State University (2006)
Focuses on the physical, psychoemotional, and behavioral impact of child maltreatment; estimated direct and indirect financial costs to society; the long-term socioeconomic impact of abuse and neglect; and strategies for prevention and intervention.