Study links child abuse to home foreclosures

Small children may be suffering the effects of the home foreclosure crisis in a serious way, researchers reported on Monday. They found a troubling increase in the number of young children with physical abuse showing up in hospital emergency rooms.

The researchers found just under a 1 percent increase in the number of general physical abuse cases reported at 38 pediatric hospitals every year between 2000 and 2009 and a more than 3 percent rise in the number of traumatic brain injuries seen in babies.

These increased rates seemed to directly correlate with the rate of mortgage foreclosures in a community, Dr. Joanne Wood of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and colleagues reported in the journal Pediatrics. There might be something uniquely stressful about losing a home that can lead to child abuse, they suggested.

“It’s well known that economic stress has been linked to an increase in child physical abuse, so we wanted to get to the bottom of the contrasting reports by formally studying hospital data on a larger scale,” Wood said in a statement.

They found that each 1 percent increase in mortgage delinquencies correlated with a 3 percent increase in the number of children 6 and under hospitalized every year for suspected physical abuse and a 5 percent increase in admissions due to traumatic brain injury from abuse.

Rest from MSNBC here…

Press release from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia here…