Child Abuse-related Deaths, Child Mortality (0–4 Years) and Income Inequality in the USA and Other Developed Nations 1989–91 v 2013–15: Speaking Truth to Power
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Journal: Child Abuse Review
© 2020 The Authors. Child Abuse Review published by Association of Child Protection Professionals and John Wiley & Sons Ltd The major concern for social work, namely child abuse-related deaths (CARD), involves parental neglect. Societal neglect, when measured by child mortality rates (CMR), is considered by bodies such as UNICEF to be indicative of how a nation meets the needs of its children. This population-based study analyses CARD and CMR for children aged from newborn to four years old between 1989–91 and 2013–15 to identify any relative child neglect in the USA and 20 other developed nations (ODN). World Health Organization data were used for CARD, CMR and undetermined deaths (UnD), a possible source of unreported CARD, juxtaposed against World Bank income inequality data. The USA had the highest number of CARD, the highest CMR and the worst income inequality. Five countries reduced their CARD significantly more than the USA, and 14 countries reduced their CMR more than the USA. Income inequality and CMR were correlated. Had the USA matched the CMR of Japan, where income inequality was narrowest, there would have been on average 16 745 fewer child deaths annually. CARD and UnD correlated, suggesting that UnD may contain unreported CARD. US CMR data indicate that services in the USA are less effective than those in ODN, possibly due to income inequality. These results will be unwelcome but child protection services must dare to speak truth to power. ‘This population-based study analyses CARD and CMR for children aged from newborn to four years old between 1989–91 and 2013–15 to identify any relative child neglect in the USA and 20 other developed nations’. Key Practitioner Messages: The richest country in the world, the USA, has the highest rates of child abuse and total child mortality in the Western world. The USA has the highest income inequality in the West, highlighting the statistical link between child mortality and poverty. Children's services should lead the call for the necessary changes and ‘speak truth to power’.