What can be the possible reasons for the increasing neglect and abuse of children?
The crisis begins in the womb with unplanned parenthood. Women with unplanned pregnancies are less likely to seek prenatal care.
In the U.S. 80% of teenage pregnancies and 56% of all pregnancies are unplanned. The problems continue after birth where unplanned pregnancies and unstable partnerships often go hand in hand. Since 1950, the number of single parent families has nearly tripled. More than 25 percent of all births today are to unmarried mothers.
As the number of single parent families grows and more women enter the work force, infants and toddlers are increasingly in the care of people other than their parents. Most disturbingly, recent statistics show that American parents are increasingly neglecting or abusing their children. In only four years from 1987-1991 the number of children in foster care increased by over 50 percent. Babies under the age of one are the fastest growing category of children entering foster care. The crisis affects children under the age of three most severely, the report says.
Yet, it is this period-from infancy through preschool years-that sets the stage for a child’s future.