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Children's Hospital Finds Link Between Home Foreclosures and Child Abuse

By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A new study by Children's Hospital of Philadelphia finds a disturbing link between child abuse and the financial problems a family is facing.

The report in the journal Pediatrics found that hospital admissions for abuse injuries rose in direct relation to an area's mortgage foreclosure rate.

Dr. Joanne Wood, the lead author, says national data shows child abuse declining from 2000 to 2009, but CHOP researchers zeroed in on the most severe kind of abuse.

"Measuring child abuse is a very complex issue," Wood tells KYW Newsradio, "and there's a benefit in using data from multiple sources -- from looking at hospitals data, at child protective services data -- so we can get a more complete picture."

Wood says abuse-related hospital admissions peaked in early 2008, at the height of the foreclosure crisis.
"I think this is something that we need to better understand -- the stress that home foreclosure puts on a community and puts on families -- so that we can better support them," she says.

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