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Thursday, October 29, 2009

More South Dakota Children Facing Abuse, Poverty

I've been looking over the Every Child Matters Education Fund report that came out last week saying South Dakota has the second worst rate in the nation of deaths from child abuse and neglect, behind only Kentucky. Of course, that's only 28 kids killed over a seven-year survey period. Only.

28 kids killed by their guardians. 28 adults, our neighbors, who could look their children in the eye and beat them, starve them... who are these monsters?

I shudder and turn away from seemignly intractable evil to peruse some other statistics:

We Americans kill more of our own kids than do our civilized neighbors:
Source: We Can Do Better, report of the Every Child Matters Education Fund, 2009, p. 8

What makes those other democracies such safer places for kids than America?

Among other things, teen pregnancy, violent crime, imprisonment, and poverty rates are much lower in these countries. Further, their social policies in support of families are much greater and typically include child care, universal health insurance, paid parental leave, visiting nurses, and more—all things which together can prevent child abuse and neglect in the first place.

The U.S. invests only modestly in similar preventive measures compared to the needs of the most vulnerable families. This serious social policy lapse creates an environment where child abuse and neglect are common—where preventable maltreatment fatalities are inevitable [We Can Do Better, 2009].

The Every Child Matters folks also chart children in poverty by state. From 2001 to 2008, the number of South Dakota children in poverty increased 50%. Our ranking nationwide in keeping kids out of poverty slipped from 17th to 34th.

Hmm... didn't I hear somewhere that 70% of Republicans think South Dakota is headed in the right direction? Four more years, Mr. Daugaard?


  1. Cory,

    Perhaps we should do a correlation analysis of the abuse & poverty of children and the level of government dependency of their parents. Let us not get the cause and effect turned around.

  2. Seems reminiscent of the faulty analysis of the state of health care. Ignore the giant factors and use peripheral factors instead to justify a progressive ideology that would never work.I would imagine the primary reason the numbers are so much higher in the US is because of the very high teenage birth rate and drug abuse (Italy is the lowest in mortality from child abuse and coincidentally also the highest in couples with children), neither of which are going to be improved by spending more money.

  3. Yes, you would imagine that, Roger.


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