According to Child Maltreatment 2011 (the most recent child abuse and neglect data), approximately 681,000 children nationwide were victims of child abuse or neglect. Of that number, 78.5 percent suffered neglect, 17.6 percent were physically abused, 9.1 percent were sexually abused, 8.9 percent were emotionally or psychologically maltreated, and 2.2 percent were medically neglected. Additionally, 10.3 percent were victims of "other" types of maltreatment such as abandonment and threatened harm. In 2011, there were approximately 1,570 deaths nationwide due to abuse or neglect. In Florida there were slightly more that 167,000 reports of abuse and neglect resulting in 133 deaths.
The youngest children are the most vulnerable to maltreatment. In 2011, 51 States reported more than one-quarter (27.1%) of all victims were younger than 3 years. This equals to 182,742 victims who were younger than 3 years. Twenty percent (19.6%) of victims were in the age group 3–5 years.
Many children who are abused or neglected wind up in the nation's foster care system, often away from family and loved ones, and they are frequently subjected to multiple moves or relocations while in the system. The length of stay in the foster care system tends to increase with the age upon entry into the system, meaning that if a child enters the foster care system as a teen or pre-teen their average length of stay is likely to be greater than that of younger children. Many of them face the grim prospect of growing up and aging out of foster care at age 18 without the requisite skills to succeed in adulthood. Not only does the trauma associated with the abuse or neglect and removal from their love ones have a negative affect on their physical and emotional development, the effects of frequent moves within the foster care system can further negatively affect the child's development and sense of belonging.
The long term effects of abuse and neglect of children is often manifested in aggressive, acting-out, and criminal behavior either toward others or towards themselves. They are more likely to be disruptive in school and at home than their counterparts who do not suffer abuse or neglect. Abuse also compromises the child's ability to bond with a loving adult; thus increasing the probability the child, and subsequently the child as adult, cannot enter into loving, mutually beneficial, long-term relationships. They are more likely to engage in risky behavior (drug addiction, alcoholism, prostitution) and suffer psychiatric disorders (schizophrenia, depression). As parents, children of abuse and neglect are more likely to abuse or neglect their children; thus perpetuating a cycle of violence.
In Florida, this data is regularly collected and maintained by the State's Department of Children and Families.