Community Foundation of New Jersey

Child Abuse and Neglect by the Numbers: Protecting NJ’s Most Vulnerable

December 9, 2013

According to the NJ Spotlight’s “Daily Number” – a round-up of state news and statistics – NJ’s state Child Abuse and Neglect hotline receives an average of 15,000 calls per month. One-third of these calls are referred to Child Protective Services. Others are resolved over the phone or, if no allegations of abuse are made, callers are directed to other family services.

According to the report, 26 percent of reported cases come from schools, and 14 percent come from anonymous callers. Calls are also received from police (13%), health care providers (11.9%), parents (8.2), neighbors (7.8) and agencies (5.9) and relatives (4.3).

Last year, Advocates for Children of New Jersey (ACNJ) spotlighted the need to improve child protection policy and practice in the state. The report highlighted an alarming statistic:

“Eighty percent of New Jersey children who died from abuse and neglect over a 5-year period were 3 years of age or younger. Nearly half of these babies and toddlers were known to the state’s child protection system.”

Among the recommendations for reform put forth by advocacy groups like ACNJ are revisions to child protection policy and practice, mandatory training for child protection staff, and greater vigilance for children at risk of abuse or neglect.

If you have reasonable cause to suspect a child has been subject to abuse, the New Jersey Department of Children and Families encourages you call their hotline.Be prepared with the following information:

  • Who: The child and parent/caregiver’s name, age and address and the name of the alleged perpetrator and that person’s relationship to the child.
  • What: Type and frequency of alleged abuse/neglect, current or previous injuries to the child and what caused you to become concerned.
  • When: When the alleged abuse/neglect occurred and when you learned of it.
  • Where: Where the incident occurred, where the child is now and whether the alleged perpetrator has access to the child.
  • How: How urgent the need is for intervention and whether there is a likelihood of imminent danger for the child.

Email Hans Dekker at hdekker@cfnj.org if you’d like to give towards programs that prevent child abuse.