Number of abused kids in Hawaii up slightly - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Number of abused kids in Hawaii up slightly

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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The number of victimized or abused children in Hawaii rose slightly in 2014, but is down by nearly 24 percent from five years earlier, according to a federal report released Monday.

The report showed that there were 1,331 Hawaii children who were abused in 2014, up by seven from the year before.

In 2010, however, the state intervened on behalf of 1,744 children who were abused.

Nationally, 702,208 children were abused in 2014, up nearly 3 percent from the year before, according to the report released Monday by the state Department of Health and Human Services.

The increase is spurring concern among child welfare advocates, who say more needs to be done to address child abuse.

"We need to shift our focus to the front-end prevention of child abuse and neglect and make sure that families get the help they need when they need it," Rafael Lopez, commissioner of the U.S. Administration on Children, Youth and Families, told the Associated Press.

Hawaii’s abused children in 2014 included 270 kids under 1 year old; some 680 of the 1,331 children were 5 and younger.

Two children died in Hawaii because of abuse in 2014; five children died the year before. 

Meanwhile, in the vast majority of cases, parents were the perpetrators of child abuse in Hawaii, according to the report. But there were five foster parents identified as perpetrators, and 11 legal guardians.

In a statement, the state Department of Human Services Child Welfare Services said that one key factor in the decrease in child abuse cases in Hawaii is the department's "differential response system," which was launched in 2005 and aims to triage family needs. 

"This helps us support families in ways that contribute to a reduction in child abuse and neglect investigations," DHS said. "We aim to strengthen families and address any potential concerns before any actual incidents of harm are manifested."

To see the full report, click here.

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