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Published January 14, 2014, 08:46 AM

Child abuse, neglect rises in North Dakota, drops in Minnesota

FARGO – Child abuse and neglect is on the rise in North Dakota, a report release by North Dakota KIDS COUNT shows.

By: Helmut Schmidt, Forum News Service, INFORUM; WDAY Staff Reports, Forum News Service

FARGO – Child abuse and neglect is on the rise in North Dakota, a report release by North Dakota KIDS COUNT shows.

Meanwhile, Minnesota’s KIDS COUNT Data Center reports that the number of abused and neglected children there has dropped since 2007.

In 2012, 1,402 children were victims of maltreatment in North Dakota, according to the report “Insights on Children” and the North Dakota Department of Human Services. That is about 9.1 victims for every 1,000 children in the state, the agency reported.

Child abuse in North Dakota increased in the late 1990s from 6.9 victims per 1,000 children, to a high of 11.2 per 1,000 in 2004, KIDS COUNT reported. Then it dropped to 7.6 victims per 1,000 children in 2010.

That trend is now reversed, KIDS COUNT said, with the rate increasing to 8.5 victims per 1,000 children in 2011 and 9.1 victims per 1,000 in 2012.

The national average was about 10 victims per 1,000 children in 2007, dropping to about 9 per 1,000 children in 2012.

Cass County reported 209 cases of abuse or neglect in 2012, for a rate of 6.21 victims per 1,000. That’s down from 222 children in 2011, for a rate of 6.74 victims per 1,000.

North Dakota’s Ramsey and Divide counties had abuse and neglect rates far above the U.S. average. Divide County reported 15 abuse and neglect cases in 2012, for a rate of 38.46 victims per 1,000 children. Ramsey County reported 69 abuse and neglect cases in 2012, for a rate of 27.48 victims per 1,000 children.

“Insights on Children” says the numbers are conservative because not all cases of abuse and neglect are reported. Also, cases of child maltreatment on tribal lands are processed through separate tribal systems, and not included in reports by the North Dakota Department of Human Services.

It is also difficult to determine whether abuse and neglect is on the rise, or if reporting of abuse and neglect has improved in a community, says Karen Van Fossan, spokeswoman for Prevent Child Abuse North Dakota.

Minnesota’s KIDS COUNT Data Center reports that the state recorded 6,277 child victims of abuse or neglect in 2007, or about 4.9 victims per 1,000 children. The number of victims and the rate dropped over the next couple years.

In 2011, Minnesota reported 4,434 children as victims of abuse or neglect, or about 3.5 victims per 1,000 children.

In 2008, Minnesota reported about 4.3 victims of child abuse or neglect per 1,000, and 3.7 victims per 1,000 in 2009. In 2010, the rate was 3.5 victims per 1,000 students.

Clay County reported 40 cases of abuse or neglect in 2011 (the latest year figures were available), for a rate of 2.9 victims per 1,000 children. That was up from 2010, when 28 children were abused or neglected, or 2 victims per 1,000 children.

Karen Olson, program director for North Dakota KIDS COUNT, said abuse and neglect directly affects the futures of the victims.

“The effects of child maltreatment can be seen long after the abuse takes place. It can lead to a variety of long-lasting impacts well into adulthood,” she said.

North Dakota, Minnesota and national victims per 1,000 children. Latest data available. Data is from the KIDS COUNT Data Center.

North Dakota:

2008 – 9 victims per 1,000 children

2009 – 8.7 per 1,000

2010 – 7.6 per 1,000

2011 – 8.5 per 1,000

2012 – 9.1 per 1,000

Minnesota:

2007 – 4.9 per 1,000

2008 – 4.3 per 1,000

2009 – 3.7 per 1,000

2010 – 3.5 per 1,000

2011 – 3.5 per 1,000

United States:

2007 and 2008 – approximately 10 per 1,000

2009, 2010 and 2011 – approximately 9 per 1,000

Suggested head: Child abuse, neglect on rise in N.D.

Minnesota rate down since 2007, KIDS COUNT report

Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583

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