In 2015, 5,545 children in San Francisco, CA, were reported to have experienced abuse. Of those, the reports of 753 children were substantiated. The expense to San Francisco for not preventing that abuse will cost $400,533 per child over his or her lifetime. That adds up to $301.6 million for just that one year, according to “The Economics of Child Abuse: A Study of San Francisco.”
And, because child abuse is profoundly underreported, the costs are likely to be as much as $5.6 billion for one year of children experiencing trauma, the report found.
The report, released today, provides the first calculation of the economic burden of child abuse in San Francisco. It was put together by the San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center and the Social Sector Solutions program at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. The HAND Foundation contributed to the effort.
“Although we have quantified the cost of a child abuse victim, it’s impossible to quantify the impact of abuse to a child, their family and our community — with one single case our society has been degraded,” said Katie Albright, executive director of the San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center. “This report proves that not only morally, but fiscally, it is our mandate as a community to end child abuse once and for all.”
The report echoes other economic analyses. Let’s look at only the children who were abused in the U.S. in 2008. Add up the total lifetime economic burden resulting from their maltreatment. It’s a whopping $124 billion. Include all the people who were abused each year even for just 10 years, and the number begins rolling into the trillions.
The CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, which did those calculations, broke down that unfathomably large number into this:
The lifetime cost for one child who was a victim of maltreatment is $210,012 in 2010 dollars. This includes:
- $32,648 in childhood health care costs;
- $10,530 in adult medical costs;
- $144,360 in productivity losses;
- $7,728 in child welfare costs;
- $6,747 in criminal justice costs;
- $7,999 in special education costs.
In San Francisco, the costs (in current dollars) are:
- $54,553 in health care costs (child and adult);
- $314,417 in lifetime productivity losses;
- $11,035 in child welfare costs;
- $7,637 in criminal justice costs;
- $12,891 in education costs