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According to the Child Welfare League of America and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, children need protection and care:

Child Abuse and Neglect

An estimated 879,000 children were victims of abuse or neglect in 2000. More than half (62.8%) suffered neglect, 19.3% were physically abused, and 10.1% were sexually abused. Children also experienced emotional abuse, medical neglect, and other forms of maltreatment.18

An estimated 1,236 children died as a result of abuse and neglect in 2000. 19

Children comprised 27% of the homeless population in 1999; unaccompanied youth represented 7%. Among homeless adults in 1996, 29% reported one or more abuse or neglect experiences before age 18; 27% reported having lived in foster care, a group home, or another institutional setting for part of their childhood.20

Alcohol and other drug problems devastate the lives of hundreds of thousands of American children and their families each year. As a major factor in child abuse and neglect, substance abuse is associated with the placement of at least half of the children in the custody of child welfare. 21

Foster Care

Of the 547,415 children in foster care on September 30, 2000, returning home is not an option for approximately 133,057.22

The average age of children in foster care is 10 years. The average time the children had been in foster care is 33 months. 23

There was a higher incidence of abuse, neglect, rape, and molestation in the state foster care system than in the general population.24

Children in the state foster care system are living in an average of 5 to 7 foster care homes before they turn 18 years old. 25

Health Care

Nearly 8.5 million low-income children remained uninsured during 2001.26

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that 75% to 80% of children who need mental health services do not receive it. Studies show that more than 80% of children in foster care have developmental, emotional, or behavioral problems. Mental health services are repeatedly identified as the number one health care need. 27

In 2001, across the nation, according to the Children's Defense Fund28:

1 in 2 children live in a single-parent family during their childhood.
1 in 3 children are born to unmarried parents.
1 in 3 children are behind one year or more in school.
1 in 4 children live with only one parent.
1 in 5 children are born into poverty.
1 in 5 children are born to a mother who did not graduate from high school.
1 in 8 children never graduate from high school.
Every day in America 7,883 children are reported abused or neglected.29

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