All children need and deserve to grow up in safe, caring and loving environments. Unfortunately, some children live in families or communities where they are exposed to negative life events, including maltreatment.
In 2006, nearly 7,000 children suffered from some form of maltreatment in Minnesota. The most common form of maltreatment is neglect, which generally involves failure of the caregiver to supply the child with necessary food, clothing, shelter, medical, or mental health care, education or appropriate supervision. Child abuse is another form of maltreatment, and includes physical, mental and sexual harm or threat of harm to a child.
Research has shown that compared to non-maltreated children, those who have been abused or neglected are far more likely to perform poorly in school, get involved in criminal activities, and abuse or neglect their own children. Preventing abuse and neglect is therefore critical to protecting Minnesota's children and minimizing the cost of long-term intervention for crime, delinquency, hospitalization, special education and mental health care.
While some individuals whose jobs involve the care of children (e.g., doctors, teachers, ministers) are required by law to report child abuse and neglect, other people, such as neighbors or relatives are also encouraged to report if they think a child is being maltreated. If you suspect a child is being abused and neglected, call your local social service or law enforcement agency.