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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

81 percent of reports to CPS are unfounded.

Over the last few days I have been reading some new information shared with me.

I think we all agree, that often allegations of child abuse are unfounded- Over the last few months I have seen a number of figures, and suspect they likely vary State to State. From 60 percent to 90 percent.

But, here is the source and breakdown of the 81 percent number: (From the Family Rights website) I suspect that year to year this number has changed, but unfortunately, it is incredibly difficult to find current statistics on CPS and DHS.


"4.2 Types of Maltreatment

In 1998, 53.5 percent of victims suffered neglect, and an additional 2.4 percent were medically neglected; 22.7 percent were physically abused; 11.5 percent were sexually abused; and 6.0 percent were emotionally maltreated. In addition, a quarter (25.3 percent) of all victims were reported to be victims of other or additional types of maltreatment, including "abandonment," "threats of harm to the child," and "congenital drug addiction." (The percentages total more than 100 percent because children may have been victims of more than one type of maltreatment.) Figure 4-3 presents these findings in terms of rates of types of maltreatment for 1990 and 1998. Three types of maltreatment have declined: physical abuse, 3.5 to 2.9 children per thousand; sexual abuse, 2.3 to 1.6 children per thousand; and psychological abuse, 0.8 to 0.6 children per thousand. The rate of neglect has increased from 6.3 to 7.2 children per thousand in the population of reporting States."

The numbers add up badly because of duplicative findings of abuse or neglect: 53.5% neglect; 2.4% medical neglect; 22.7% physically abused; 11.5% sexually abused; 6.0% emotionally maltreated; and 25.3% other forms of abuse; for a total of 121.4%. This makes for some difficult calculations on how many children suffer a particular kind of abuse or neglect, and poses a problem for getting a good picture of the situation. What we have to realize here is that these percentages are describing "findings", not individual "cases" or specific reports "reports". As we all know, one "case" or "report" can generate multiple findings.

One way to deal with the problem is to look at the percentages for the specific categories as a percentage of the total. The total 121.4% represents all of the findings in all of the cases. 53.5% specifically neglect findings represent 44.1% of all the findings. 2.4% specifically medical neglect findings represent 2.0% of all the findings. 22.7% specifically physical abuse findings represent 18.7% of all the findings. 11.5% specifically sexual abuse findings represent 9.5% of all the cases. 6.0% specificially emotional maltreatment findings represent 4.9% of all the findings. 25.3% other forms of abuse findings represent 20.8% of all the findings. Now our totals add up to: 44.1% + 2.0% + 18.7% + 9.5% + 4.9% + 20.8% = 100%.

So here is what we can say based on the numbers represented.

81% (or 4 out of 5) of all **reports** are false, that is, do not end up being "substantiated". The definition of "false report" needs to be explained. It does not mean that 81% of all reports are maliciously or intentionally false, although that category falls within the category of false report. It means that 81% of all reports simply are not reports of situtaions in which child abuse (including neglect and all other categories) is not truly occurring.

Physical abuse, at 18.7% of the findings, sexual abuse at 9.5%, and emotional abuse at 4.9% of the findings, account for 33.1%, or roughly 1/3, of all findings among the 19% of cases "substantiated" for some form of abuse and/or neglect.

Medical neglect, at 2%, and physical neglect, at 44.1%, of the findings account for just under 1/2 of all findings in the 19% of cases "substantiated" for some form of abuse and/or neglect.

Other forms of child maltreatment, including abandonment, pre-natal drug exposure, and threat of harm, account for roughly 1/5 of all findings in the 19% of cases "substantiated" for some of abuse and/or neglect.

This way we are saying how the apples (findings) compare to apples (findings) in the percentage of oranges (reports) that are substantiated. To try to factor the findings across the substantiated cases directly is comparing apples to oranges, and gives inaccurate information.

What we cannot say is that 33.1% of the 19%, or 6.3%, of substantiated reports are substantiated for physical, sexual abuse or emotional abuse, because the duplicative findings in some cases make this statement inaccurate. To state that conversely, we cannot say that 93.7% of all child abuse reports are unfounded, because the general term "child abuse" includes neglect, abandonment, and threat of harm situations as well as situations involving physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. Saying either of these two statements, does not take into account the neglect cases that are indicated, and is not accurate.

The best we can say is that 81% of all child abuse reports are false, and that among the 19% of all reports that are "substantiated", some form of abuse accounts for 1/3 of the findings, some form of neglect accounts for just under half of the findings, and some other form of child maltreatment accounts for 1/5 of the findings.

Eric von Kleist
Spartanburg, South Carolina

> The best we can say is that 81% of all child abuse reports are false, and that among the 19% of all reports that are "substantiated", some form of abuse accounts for 1/3 of the findings, some form of neglect accounts for just under half of the findings, and some other form of child maltreatment accounts for 1/5 of the findings.

Let me rephrase that, since it is not complete and disregards an important fact that Leonard brought up.

81%, or 4 out of 5, of all child abuse reports are known to be false. Less than 1 in 5 reports of child abuse are "substantiated" as being true by an administrative decision or court action. There are serious doubts about the validity of a large number of the administrative findings of child abuse and neglect. These doubts center upon the dubious quality of the investigative work undertaken by CPS investigators. There are relatively few figures available regarding the number of "substantiated" findings that are overturned following either administrative or judicial review.

We do not have an epidemic of child abuse in the United States, but we do have an epidemic of false reporting that is harmful to families who are needlessly exposed to the universally inadequate and incompetent efforts of the CPS agencies throughout the country.

Eric von Kleist
Spartanburg, South Carolina

The next step would be to figure out what percentage of the cases CPS actively investigates are found to be false- How many families have their children taken away even temporarily because of a false allegation?

We have clearly established that the vast MAJORITY of allegations of child abuse are false- which means thousands of American families are caused great harm based on a false allegation- How do we stop this?

Of interest, the State of Oregon has passed legislation making false allegations of child abuse punishable by law.(2011) I think a lot of legal eagles are going to be watching the State of Oregon very closely to see how they are going to enforce this law, if it reduces the number of false allegations and allows CPS to focus their resources on true cases of child abuse/neglect.

Another interesting question is; Can you sue someone(citizen,Dr.,school official) for false allegations? You can, but currently with the way the law is written it is immensely difficult to prove malice. The way the law is written in most states, actually places the citizen,Dr. School official in a position of liability if they "suspect" child abuse(no proof required) that they MUST report it- therefore with the way the law is written in most cases, a false allegation as long as not done in "malice" is not against any civil or criminal law- it is near IMPOSSIBLE for a family to "PROVE" malice against CPS, or person who falsely reports abuse because of the protections given via reporting laws.. I have found a few cases over the past 25 years where Malice was proven, but the the case was so clearly abusive with massive evidence indicating Malice or abuse of power- even then those cases took years to navigate the court systems.

If 80 percent of cases reported are false or unfounded, it is clear that many families are likely also suffering months if not years of having their constitutional rights violated for "the best interest of a child"- their rights, their families destroyed because of a reporting system that was created to encourage citizens to feel safe to report abuse, or even to hold the citizen criminally responsible to report even "suspected" abuse. Unfortunately, the law has been proven faulty just by statistics, yet so far despite our Government recognizing that the law is causing more harm then good for many American families, only Oregon(that I know of right now) is making an effort to correct and improve the law to protect the rights of the family.

The problem is how the law is written. Please don't think for a second that I think we should ever protect anyone who has abused a child- but the way the law is written is that we have unintentionally stripped parents of their constitutional rights as citizens- a law that creates victims is not a law that we should have.. the unintended consequences are crippling and destroying good American families on a daily basis.


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