This document is a report to US Congress authored by Sedak et al in 2010 and discusses the 4th National Incidence Study report. The NIS is a ‘congressionally mandated, periodic effort of the US Dept of Health and Human Services’ which first began in 1979. The NIS-4 collected data in 2005 and 2006. The rates of child abuse and neglect were determined and compared with a variety of socioeconomic variables including, ethnicity, income, family structure, age, sex, and perpetrator characteristics.
Role of Family Structure
The report classified children into 6 categories: living with married biological parents, living with other married parents (eg step-parent, adoptive), living with two unmarried parents, living with one parent who had an unmarried partner in the household, living with one parent who had no partner in the household, and living with no parent.
1. “Children living with married biological parents universally had the lowest rate (of child abuse)
2. “those who had a cohabiting partner in the household had the highest rate in all maltreatment categories (emphasis added)
3. ‘Compared to children living with married biological parents, those whose single parent had a live-in partner had more than 8 times the rate of maltreatment overall, over 10 times the rate of abuse, nearly 8 times the rate of neglect.
Marriage and biology matters for children’s well-being. With respect to child abuse, the family structure that gives the lowest rates of abuse/neglect ACROSS THE BOARD is when the child lives with their 2 married biological parents.
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