Each case of child abuse and neglect in Alaska costs the state an additional $86,044 in health care spending per a victim due to the higher frequency of health complications of those that have suffered abuse. The data is part of a recent report published by Nolan Klouda, MPA, CEcD, and Alaska Children’s Trust, The Economic Impact of Child Abuse and Neglect, which evaluated the financial impact of child abuse and neglect on Alaska for all cases in 2019.
The 3,139 cases of abuse that year are estimated to lead to increased need and, therefore, spending in four areas: criminal justice, special education, health care, and child welfare. The study also calculated lost state revenue from productivity loss and factored in diminished quality of life. Each nonfatal case cost the state between $300,200 and $968,500, depending on if a child’s quality of life was factored in. Each fatal case cost the state $3.3 million, plus an additional $18.2 million for value per statistical life lost.
“This monumental spending shows us that child abuse and neglect is an issue that transcends the impact to the individual and their family on many levels- these cases are causing a burden on our already-challenged state budget. If legislators truly want a balanced budget, we need to change our investment to upstream, preventative measures versus downstream programs that have a high cost and little to no return on investment,” says Trevor Storrs, President & CEO of Alaska Children’s Trust. You can read the summary and full economic report at: alaskachildrenstrust.org/economic-costs-of-child-abuse.