Reports of child abuse and neglect have dropped nationwide for the fifth consecutive year, and abuse-related child fatalities also are at a five-year low, according to new federal statistics....
Sociologist David Finkelhor, director of the University of New Hampshire's Crimes Against Children Research Center, says he finds the annual reports frustrating because of the lack of analysis of the trends.
"But at the same time, it does appear remarkable that overall child maltreatment has declined given that unemployment has been so high, the housing and mortgage crisis has continued, and state and local budgets for family and child services have been cut," he wrote in an email.
Richard Gelles, dean of the University of Pennsylvania's School of Social Policy and Practice and an expert on child welfare, noted that the decline in child maltreatment meshed with declines in the overall violent crime rate, the homicide rate and the level of violence against women.I have written about this before -- that contrary to the traditional liberal excuses for the welfare state, crime rates often fall during economic hard times. And here is another example.