She will never play on a playground, or go to a sleepover, andnever go to school. All of this was taken away from her at such a young age, when shedied of child abuse. The foster parents, Patricia Coker, and her mother Betty Coker havebeen charged with second degree murder for Caprices death. Caprice went without foodfor days.
She was also tied to a chair and beaten with a stick until she couldnt walk. Several days later, she was found dead. As horrible as this story seems, this scene happens way to often. In 1996,approximately 3,126,000 children were reported for child abuse. Currently, about 47 outof every 1,000 children are reported as victims of child abuse and maltreatment. Overall, child abuse reporting levels have increased 45% between 1987 and 1996.
In 1996, an estimated 1,046 child abuse and neglect related fatalities wereconfirmed by Child Protective Services, (CPS) agencies. Since 1985, the rate of childabuse fatalities has increased by 20%. Based on these numbers, more than three childrendie each day as a result of child abuse or neglect. In 1996, some states reported that almost 77% of these children that died wereless than five years old at the time of their death, while 45% were under 1 year of age.
The causes of death were 45% neglect, 52% physical abuse, 3% from a combination ofneglect and physical abuse. Studies of the general population show that anywhere from6% to 63% of women were sexually abused as children. A 1985 L. A. Times nationalsurvey found that 27% of women and 16% of men reported being sexually abused priorto age 18.
The true extent of sexual abuse in unknown. The relationship between parental alcohol or other drug problems and childmaltreatment is becoming increasingly evident. And the risk to the child increases in asingle parent household where there is no supporting adult to diffuse parental stress andprotect the child from the effects of the parents problem. Both alcohol and drug problems are widespread in this country. Almost 14million adult Americans abuse alcohol.
The number of illicit drug users exceeds 12million. Illicit drugs include marijuana, cocaine, inhalants, hallucinogens, heroin, andnon-medical use of psychotherapeutics. With more than 6. 6 million children under theage of 18 living in alcoholic households, and an additional number of children living inhouseholds where parents have problems with illicit drugs, a significant number ofchildren in this country are being raised by addicted parents. Child maltreatment has become a national epidemic. More than one millionchildren are confirmed each year as victims of child abuse and neglect by state childprotective service agencies.
Every day at least three children die as a result of abuse orneglect. State child welfare records indicate that substance abuse is one of the top twoproblems exhibited by families in 81% of the reported cases. Recent research on the connection between alcohol or drug problems and childmaltreatment clearly indicates a connection between the two problems. Amongconfirmed cases of child maltreatment, 40% involve the use of alcohol or other drugs.
This suggests that of the 1. 2 million confirmed victims of child maltreatment, andestimated 480,000 children are mistreated each year by a caretaker with alcohol or otherdrug problems. Additionally, research suggests that alcohol and other drug problems arefactors in a majority of cases of emotional abuse and neglect. In fact, neglect is themajor reason that children are removed from a home in which parents have alcohol orother drug problems. Children in these homes suffer from a variety of physical, mental,and emotional health problems at a greater rate than children in the general population. Children of alcoholics suffer more injuries and poisonings than children in the generalpopulation.
Alcohol and other substances may act as disinhibitors, lessening impulsecontrol and allowing parents to behave abusively. Children in this environment oftendemonstrate behavioral problems and are diagnosed as having conduct disorders. Thismay result in provocative behavior. Increased stress resulting from preoccupation withdrugs on the part of the parent combined with behavioral problems .