Community Assessment Data
A Guide to Understanding the Well-Being of Children & Families in Erie County, Pennsylvania
Research on the effects of child abuse and neglect document both immediate and long-term harm to children. In rare cases, the physical consequence of abuse and neglect is death. In many other cases, the outcome is serious injury, permanent disability, and/or a range of social, psychological, and cognitive problems.
The local Offices of Children and Youth or Childline, a national child abuse hotline, take reports of child abuse. Local representatives of the Office of Children and Youth investigate the report. If there is proof of abuse or neglect, the case is considered a substantiated case.
The number of children in foster or substitute care reflects the well being of children, and it is a rough index of social conditions and the conditions within families that pose substantial risk for children. Family instability, poverty, crime, violence, homelessness, substance abuse, and serious illness contribute to the need to place children out of their own homes. The number of children placed out-of-home may increase or decrease for a variety of reasons, and any interpretation of data trends must be accompanied by analysis of other factors to determine the nature of the trends.
Community based placements include foster care, emergency shelter, community residential and alternative treatment placements. Institutional placements in Erie County consist of those to the secure section of the Edmund L. Thomas Center.
Youth is a time when some young people get into trouble. The more serious of these acts may lead to the youth being arrested. The seriousness of these offenses varies from property crimes such as vandalism to violent crimes such as murder. Arrests, however, are incidences so it is quite possible for one individual may be arrested more than once during a year.
The juvenile court uses out-of-home residential placement as a recourse for some juveniles involved in delinquent activity. The purpose of residential placement is to rehabilitate young people engaged in delinquent behavior and hold them accountable. It is generally used for chronic or serious juvenile offenders. Placement types include foster care, wilderness-based programs, as well as private and public secure and non-secure facilities.