Index: Crime & Safety / Subcategory: Crime

Child Abuse

Date updated: 03/19/2013

Larimer County Child Protection caseworkers respond to reports of possible child abuse or neglect. Reports can be made by law enforcement, schools, medical professionals, or anyone who feels there is a situation that warrants investigation by contacting Child Protection Services. Each referral or report is screened and may be investigated by a visit or phone interview (assessment) to determine if follow up is necessary. A substantiated report occurs when an assessment confirms the existence of abuse or neglect. Four types of abuse/neglect are physical abuse, emotional abuse, physical neglect, and sexual abuse. Definitions are located under Additional Information.

When abuse is confirmed, it may be necessary to remove children from their homes and place them in temporary housing. When in out-of-home placement, children are less likely to be abused or neglected. These out-of-home placement providers may be licensed by either Larimer County or Colorado.

Types of Out-of-Home Placement

Larimer County-Licensed Placements

Colorado- Licensed Placements

  • Family Foster Home
  • Group Home
  • Kinship Placement
  • Child Protection Agency
  • Residential Child Care Facility
  • See Children in Out-of-Home Placement for detailed definitions and more information on the types of out-of-home placements.

    What this chart shows: Child Abuse Reports by Disposition, Larimer County, 2012

    NOTE: The sum of the categories Substantiated, Unsubstantiated, and Inconclusive is greater than the Total Investigated because original referrals are by family units, whereas findings are by child.

    Data Source: Larimer County Human Services - Children, Youth, & Family Division (data not available online)

    See data table

    What the above data tell us:

    In 2012, there were nearly 5,700 reports of child abuse or neglect in Larimer County. Close to 2,100 cases merited investigation, which resulted in 428 substantiated cases of child abuse.

    What this chart shows: Rate of Reports, Assessments, and Substantiated Reports of Child Abuse per 1,000 Children, 2007-2012

    Data Source: Larimer County Human Services - Children, Youth, & Family Division (data not available online)

    See data table

    What this chart shows: Child Abuse Reports Resulting in Substantiated Cases, Larimer County, 2007-2012

    Data Source: Larimer County Human Services - Children, Youth, & Family Division (data not available online)

    See data table

    What the above data tell us:

    Over the last six years, the number of initial child abuse reports in Larimer County peaked in 2008 at 5,995. The number of substantiated reports, however, peaked in 2007 at 724 and has been declining since. See Victims of Child Abuse by Gender & Age chart.

    According to the Larimer County Department of Human Services, since 1999 local staff has concentrated on moving toward consistency in application of the State definition of child abuse. During the same timeframe, the Department opened a local juvenile assessment center (The Hub) in Fort Collins. The Hub continues to provide staff 24-hours per day to receive reports of abuse. The creation of an easily accessible and user-friendly reporting system had the effect of increasing initial reports of abuse. Better training among mandatory reporters (i.e., teachers, doctors, nurses) and an influx of methamphetamine ('meth') cases - 650 alleged victims in calendar year 2005 - may have also contributed to the increased number of abuse reports.

    Additional Information:

    Definition of Child Abuse

    The Colorado Revised Statutes (C.R.S. 19-1-103) defines child abuse as follows:

    1. Physical abuse: C.R.S. 19-1-103 states 'Any case in which a child exhibits evidence of skin bruising, bleeding, malnutrition, failure to thrive, burns, fracture of any bone, subdural hematoma, soft tissue swelling, or death and either: Such condition or death is not justifiably explained; the history given concerning such condition is at variance with the degree or type of such condition or death; or the circumstances indicate that such condition may not be the product of an accidental occurrence;'

    When someone hurts a child badly enough to cause an injury, break a bone, leave a bruise, a cut, or some other mark. For example, shaking a baby or using an object to spank a child that leaves a mark.

    2. Emotional abuse: C.R.S. 19-1-103 states 'an identifiable and substantial impairment of the child's intellectual or psychological functioning or development or a substantial risk of impairment of the child's intellectual or psychological functioning or development.'

    Treatment which makes children feel that they are not loved or wanted. An adult's words or actions lead a child to be harmful to themselves or others. For example, repeatedly calling a child names or exposing them to violent situations.

    3. Physical neglect: C.R.S. 19-1-103 states 'Any case in which a child is a child in need of services because the child's parents, legal guardian, or custodian fails to take the same actions to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care, or supervision that a prudent parent would take.'

    Not providing a safe place to live, food, clothing, or medical care; leaving young children alone or with someone whom is not appropriate to care for them.

    4. Sexual abuse: C.R.S. 19-1-103 states 'Any case in which a child is subjected to sexual assault or molestation, sexual exploitation, or prostitution;'

    Child sexual abuse occurs when a child is used for the sexual gratification of another. Sexual abuse also includes taking pornographic pictures or making a child available for prostitution.

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    Related Information on COMPASS -

    Other Resources -

    Industry Standards or Targets:

    The federal Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 [pdf] sets permanency standards for children in state care. A main component of ASFA's goals is to reduce the amount of time children spend in an out-of-home, or a non-permanent, situation. The law states that children who are in continual care of a state for 19 months must have parental rights terminated and be placed for adoption.

    Data Tables:

    Child Abuse Reports by Disposition - Larimer County, 2012

    Report by Disposition

    Number of Reports

    Total Referrals

    5,686

    Investigated Reports

    2,079

    Substantiated Reports

    428

    Unsubstantiated Reports

    1,209

    Inconclusive Reports

    357

    See chart

    Number and Rate of Reports, Assessments, & Substantiated Reports of Child Abuse - Larimer County

    Year

    Reports

    Assessments

    Substantiated Reports

    Population (0-17 Years)

    Rate of Reports

    Rate of Assessments

    Rate of Substantiated Reports

    2007

    5,414

    3,068

    724

    67,921

    79.7

    45.2

    10.7

    2008

    5,995

    3,066

    571

    68,536

    87.5

    44.7

    8.3

    2009

    5,519

    2,544

    436

    68,828

    80.2

    37.0

    6.3

    2010

    5,848

    2,580

    389

    68,771

    85.0

    37.5

    5.7

    2011

    5,732

    1,971

    389

    69,496

    82.5

    28.4

    5.6

    2012

    5,686

    2,079

    428

    70,351

    80.8

    29.6

    6.1

    See charts -

    Rate Chart
    % of Substantiated Cases Chart