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Report suggests state spending due to child abuse in over $700 million annually

(KGNS)
Published: Mar. 27, 2021 at 7:50 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Alaska has one of the highest rates of child abuse in the nation, and recent data suggests state spending due to child abuse is over $700 million annually. This data is part of a recent report published by Nolan Klouda, and the Alaska Children’s Trust, which evaluated the financial impact of child abuse and neglect in Alaska for all cases in 2019.

The study found that the 3,139 cases of abuse in 2019 are estimated to lead to increased need and, therefore, spending in four areas — criminal justice, special education, health care, and child welfare.

“It’s not just direct cost, it’s loss of earnings, all the things that an individual experiences, plus the cost of investigation and the mental health cost and potential cost for special education,” said CEO of Alaska Children’s Trust Trevor Storrs. “What this really brings to light is when we wait for the trauma to occur, the cost is so much greater than if we did things upstream.”

Storrs says on any given day, there are about 3,2000 children in foster care in Alaska.

“This speaks that there’s a great cost to our state, and we need to start looking at the data. Data is showing us the things we can do,” said Storrs. “What can we do upstream? We can be investing in pre-k. Start kids off early. It prepares them. It increases the protective factors for them as children and protective factors for the family.”

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