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What’s behind the three-year rise in federal child abuse numbers?

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Neglect tops the list of abuses that children endure, according to a new report that finds cases of abuse and neglect edged up for the third consecutive year during 2015.

The Child Maltreatment 2015 report by the Administration on Children, Youth and Families noted 683,000 victims of child maltreatment or 9.2 victims per 1,000 children. The slight increase from 2014’s 9.1 victims per 1,000 is concerning, experts said, because not all maltreatment is reported and in some cases abuse or neglect exists but there’s not enough evidence to substantiate it, leading to the suspicion that the count is actually undercounted.

“I think the findings of abuse reports and substantiations here say essentially a child abuse investigator went out and said something’s going on here; we need to take a closer look,” said Daniel Heimpel, executive director of the nonprofit Fostering Media Connections, which produces three publications for foster and adoptive parents. He also teaches at the University of Southern California School of Social Work.

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