Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Each year in the United States some four million children are reported to child protective services and hundreds of thousands of children are confirmed victims of maltreatment. This chapter provides a brief overview of the civil and criminal law’s response to child abuse and neglect. It summarizes the major federal statutes that provide funding to the states to support both civil and criminal law responses to maltreatment. It discusses the division of responsible for responding to child maltreatment between the federal and state governments (federalism). It also provides a summary of the constitutional framework for handling both civil and criminal child maltreatment cases.