Number of Children Dying From Drug-Related Abuse Continues To Grow In The State Of Pennsylvania

Although there have been changes made to child abuse laws and legal reporting requirements in Pennsylvania, the number of victims of child abuse, including child deaths, is still rising.

46 children died from abuse in Pennsylvania in 2016, an increase from 36 in 2009, according to an analysis by the Department of Human Services.

As alarming as this statistic may sound, sadly the number of deaths from child abuse in Pennsylvania is still below the national average

This kind of data is collected and analyzed to see where law changes need to be made in regards to child abuse and reporting.

According to reports, the majority of child abuse victims were under the age of five, and a parent is the most common perpetrator of the abuse. Head trauma is specified as being the number one cause of serious or fatal injury, with lack of supervision coming in second. Delayed medical care is the third highest cause of child injury or death.

Substance abuse is a huge factor in most cases of child abuse or neglect. Substance abuse by perpetrators is the number one risk factor in the most serious child abuse cases, at 40%. In 2016, 39% of the 273,539 children who entered foster care did so due to circumstances related to parental drug/alcohol abuse.

Out of perpetrators of fatal and near-fatal child abuse incidents who consumed substances that directly impacted the incident, 38% abused prescription medications, 54% used illegal drugs, and 50% drank alcohol. Approximately half the perpetrators who used a substance that was related to the child abuse used more than one substance (most commonly alcohol combined with another substance).

Police and lawmakers are still working together to use statistical data on drug use and child abuse to create stronger laws against child abuse.