Faith-based Website: Child Abuse Study Should Spur Non-Profits to Action in Recession

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Community organizations are uniquely positioned to have a tangible impact on the hurt caused by recession, including child abuse, according to faith-based website, followme.org.

"[These findings] point us toward one root cause of child abuse: housing insecurity."
-FollowMe.org

Economic recession increases pressure on families, but it also provides community organizations with a unique opportunity to make a tangible difference, according to faith-based website, followme.org.

That statement was made today in response to a new report published by Pediatrics yesterday that identifies a strong correlation between the national mortgage foreclosure and a rise in child abuse.

Yesterday, a team of researchers from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) released the startling findings that this decade’s economic slump has contributed to a rise in serious cases of child abuse. The report, entitled “Local macroeconomic trends and hospital admissions for child abuse, 2000 to 2009,” examines admission statistics for child abuse from 38 different children’s hospitals since 2000.

Upon studying the data, researchers noted a “strong relationship between the rate of child physical abuse and local mortgage foreclosures, which have been a hallmark of the recent recession,” according to the CHOP PolicyLab’s press release. This finding contradicts the findings of national child welfare data that child abuse has actually declined in the last ten years, the release acknowledged. CHOP researchers responded that the CHOP study is the largest study to date that examines the connection between recession and reports of child abuse, according to the press release.

As 90-day mortgage delinquencies have increased nationwide, so, too, have diagnoses of traumatic brain injury due to child abuse, the published report states. For every one percent rise in delinquencies over the course of a year, researchers found a three percent rise in hospital admissions for traumatic brain injury.

But what do these findings mean for the nation’s non-profits seeking to interrupt the trend of child abuse in homes? Pastor Jamie of the faith-based website, followme.org, argues that non-profits need to take these findings seriously because “they point us [community organizations] toward one root cause of child abuse: housing insecurity.” Churches, shelters, and non-profits need to be aware that the mortgage crisis provides “a golden opportunity to make a difference,” as these economic strains cause serious stress for families in need of help, he said.

Dr. Joanne Wood, an attending physician and researcher at CHOP’s PolicyLab, would seem to agree. “[T]these results highlight the need to better understand the stress that housing insecurity places on families and communities so that we can better support them during difficult times,” she stated in the CHOP press release.

The full report appears in the current issue of Pediatrics, available online on July 16.

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Jeff White
FollowMe.org
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