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September 24, 2019

The numbers are frightening. Perhaps most appalling is the 55.7 increase in child abuse and neglect victims in Illinois from 2013 (18,465 victims) to 2017 (28,751). Other heartbreaking statistics:

  • The child maltreatment rate rose from 6.1 per 100,000 in 2013 to 9.9 per 100,000 in 2017.
  • The number of first-time victims rose from 13,394 in 2013 to 19,802 in 2017.

Types and examples of neglect:

  • Physical (abandonment without arranging for care, inadequate supervision)
  • Educational (permitting chronic truancy and failure to allow remedial services)
  • Emotional (inadequate nurturing and affection, spousal abuse in a child’s presence)
  • Medical (failure to provide appropriate health care)

Signs of child neglect:

  • Frequent absences from school
  • Theft of food or money
  • Begging for food or money
  • Lack of medical or dental care
  • Consistently dirty or severe body odor
  • Lacking weather-suitable clothing
  • Abuse of alcohol or other drugs
  • Says no one is at home to provide care


A 2016 Department of Health and Human Services report found the 2014 expansion of Medicaid had a positive impact on reducing child neglect, which accounts for three-quarters of child maltreatment cases nationwide. This was attributed to improved parental financial stability and access to mental health care. Among the findings:

  • The proportion of uninsured parents dropped 33 percent, meaning more lower-income families had access to health care.
  • The neglect rate decreased by 336 cases per 100,000 children younger than 6 years of age.
  • States that did not expand Medicaid saw an increased rate of neglect by 90 cases per 100,000 children younger than 6 years

“The results add to the small but growing body of evidence demonstrating a positive association between social policy and child maltreatment outcomes,” the study concludes, adding: “Our findings offer a promising avenue for future child neglect prevention research, especially as new states expand Medicaid.”


The first step toward rescuing children from neglect is reporting the problem. While these cases are difficult and highly emotional, keep in mind that you may be the only hope for a child in danger. The trauma of neglect can last a lifetime and lead to generations of maltreatment as victims often repeat the abuse in adulthood. If you suspect neglect, it’s vital that you notify the authorities.

You don’t have to face this daunting task alone. The child neglect attorneys at Deratany & Kosner in Chicago have experience handling these cases throughout Illinois and the country. They have worked with children, families, the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services and other social services agencies.

If you have questions and are reluctant to become involved, attorney Jay Paul Deratany and his team can help guide you toward the most important outcome – protecting the welfare of a child. Contact them for a free consultation today.

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