Kansas ATTACh

Attachment related educational, advocacy, resource and support services.


The Statistics



During 2002, Child Protective Services received an estimated total of 2.6 million reports of abuse/neglect on 4.5 million children.  896,000 children were found to be victims.  Of these victims 243,320 were maltreated by their mothers acting alone; another 115,375 were maltreated by their fathers acting alone; 108,657 were abused by both their mother and father, 32,459 were maltreated by their mother and other and 5,827 were maltreated by their father and other. (U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services).

The largest age group to be maltreated were those aged birth to 3 with a rate of 16% per 1000.  This rate decreases as the child becomes older.  The recurrence of maltreatment within 6 months occurred for 38.1% of children age birth to 3 years and again this decreased as the child became older.  (U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services).

An estimated 1,400 children died due to abuse or neglect with 76 percent of children who were killed being younger than 4 years old.  (U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services).

In 2001, 542,00 children were in foster care and more than 126,000 were considered waiting to be adopted. 38% of these children were age 5 or younger (U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services)These children had been in foster care for an average of more than 3½ years, and their average age was eight (Pew Commission).


In Kansas, 26,696 children were the subjects of a maltreatment investigation in 2002. 6,425 children were found to be the victims of maltreatment including 729 children age birth to 3 years and 1,688 age 4 to 7 years of age.  8.2% of these children were maltreated again within a 6-month period with the largest group being birth to 3 years of age. (U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services).

5,875 Kansas children were in foster care in 2002 with an average stay of 18 to 21 months. 51% of these children had 3 or more placements. 2,082 children were waiting to be adopted and from October 1, 2001 to September 30, 2002 471 children were adopted.  45% of the children adopted were between the ages of 1 to 5 years old and 31% were between 6 and 10.  (U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services).


Approximately 2% of the population is adopted,and between 50% and 80% of such children have attachment disorder symptoms.  (Carlson V, Cicchetti D, Barnett D, & Braunwald K: Finding order in disorganization: Lessons from research on maltreated infants’ attachments to their caregivers.  In: Child Maltreatment: Theory and research on the causes and consequences of child abuse and neglect.  Cicchetti D, Cummings EM, Greenberg MT, & Marvin RS: An organizational perspective on attachment beyond infancy.  In: Attachment in the Preschool Years.).

The National Adoption Center reports that fifty-two percent of adoptable children have attachment related atypical behavioral symptoms
K. (1996):  Children at risk for reactive attachment disorder: Assessment, diagnosis, and treatment.) Cicchetti & Barnett (Cicchetti, D. and D. Barnett (1991): Attachment organization in maltreated preschoolers.) classified eighty percent of maltreated infants as also having attachment related behavioral symptoms and approximately sixty to eighty percent of children who have spent time in foster homes show marked symptoms (DeAngelis, T. (1997):  When children don’t bond with parents.).

Children described by their adoptive parents as having low levels of attachment also have heightened risk of adoption disruptions. (Barth, R.P. and Berry, M. (1988)Adoption and disruption: rates, risks, and responses)

Of children of any age with special needs placed for adoption, the disruption rate is 14.3%. (Groze, V. (1986). Special needs adoption).  Placements of older children and children with histories of previous placements and longer stays in the foster care system are more likely to disrupt (Stolley, K.S. (1993). Statistics on adoption in the United States. The Future of Children: Adoption).


The body of research on the connection between child maltreatment and juvenile delinquency, while utilizing a variety of methodologies, leads to a similar conclusion “in general, people who experience any type of maltreatment in childhood…are more likely than people who were not maltreated to be arrested later in life” (Widom, C. S. (1995):  Victims of childhood sexual abuse-Later criminal consequences ) .

In one of the most detailed studies of the issue to date, research sponsored by the
National Institute of Justice found that childhood abuse increased the odds of future delinquency and adult criminality overall by 40 percent.  Being abused or neglected as a child increased the likelihood of arrest as a juvenile by 53 percent, as an adult by 38 percent, and for a violent crime by 38 percent (Widom, 1992: The Cycle of Violence). 

More recently, in a report released by the National Institute of Justice (Widom, C.S. and Maxfield, M.G. February 2001: Research in Brief: An Update on the Cycle of Violence), study findings revealed that persons who had been abused or neglected as a child increased the likelihood of arrest as a juvenile by 59 percent. More specifically, those abused or neglected as a child were more likely (than a non-abused or non-neglected comparison group) to be arrested as juveniles (27 percent versus 17 percent), adults (42 percent versus 33 percent), and for a violent crime (18 percent versus 14 percent). 

It is estimated that half of all incarcerated adults
suffer from some form of psychopathology caused by attachment breaks in childhood (Magid & McKelvey, 1987:  HIGH RISK: Children Without a Conscience).

Adult Mental Health Disorders

Children with the symptoms of attachment disorder and antisocial behaviors are very likely to continue these behaviors in adulthood (Robins L & Price R, 1991: Adult disorders predicted by childhood conduct problems: Results from the NMH Epidemiological Catchment Area Project.  Loeber R, 1991: Antisocial behavior: More enduring than changeable? Special section.  Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry ). 

Many of these children are at risk of developing a variety of psychological problems and personality disorders, including antisocial personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, and psychopathic personality disorder (Schreiber R & Lyddon W J, 1998: Parental bonding and Current Psychological Functioning Among Childhood Sexual Abuse Survivors .  Finzi R, Cohen O, Sapir Y, andWeizman A, 2000:  Attachment Styles in Maltreated Children: A Comparative Study.  Dozier M, Stovall KC, & Albus K,1999: Attachment and Psychopathology in Adulthood.  Siegel, DJ, 2002: Toward an interpersonalneurobiology of the developing mind: attachment relationships, “mindsight,” and neural integration).  

The origin of personality disorders is thought to be partly a function of temperament, which is genetic and partly derived from environmental experiences, such as lack of appropriate nurturing and/or trauma during early childhood (Blum, N. & and Pfohl, B. (1998): Personality disorders.

Child Maltreatment 2002

Child and Family Service Report for Kansas

State by State Adoption and Foster Care Statistics

An Analysis of Mental Health Issues in States’ Child and Family Service Reviews


Short- and Long-Term Consequences of Neglect

Update on Cycle of Violence

Attachment Theory, Psychoanalysis, Personality Development, and Psychopathology(PDF)

Childhood Maltreatment Increases Risk for Personality Disorders During Early Adulthood

Mental Health Problems and Child Maltreatment: Parents with Personality Disorders (PDF)

Treating Troubled Children Saves Millons

Cost of Child Abuse and Neglect (PDF)

Hurting Children: A National Shame

©2003 Kansas ATTACh