Sep 20, 2019

Doctors can sometimes struggle to identify child abuse

Photo: Buero Monaco/Getty Images

Some pediatricians who are stationed at major hospitals across the country are working with child welfare and law enforcement officials to help protect abused children from additional harm.

Why it matters: These doctors' conclusions check out most of the time, but murky evidence can risk the breakup of innocent families when doctors misidentify child abuse, an investigation by NBC News and the Houston Chronicle found.

  • Child welfare investigations are confidential, and there is no way for the public to know how often parents lose custody.
  • Physicians carry out their own investigations and sometimes overstate the reliability of their findings, using terms like "100%" and "certain" when something is hard to prove.
  • Wronged parents have faced financial ruin or lost jobs when they fought against Child Protective Services. Children can also suffer emotionally.

The bottom line: "The reporting reveals a legal and medical system that sometimes struggles to differentiate accidental injuries from abuse, particularly in cases involving children too young to describe what happened to them."

  • Still, an estimated 1,688 children died from abuse and neglect nationally in the fiscal year 2017.

Go deeper: Child detention is creating a mental health crisis

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New York Times investigation finds massive spike in online child sex abuse

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

There were 18.4 million reports of child pornography on the internet last year, which included 45 million images and videos of child sexual abuse, according to an investigation by the New York Times.

Why it matters: Despite tech companies', law enforcement agencies' and legislators' best efforts to prevent the spread of child pornography, the number of reports has exploded over the last 3 decades as technology makes abusive images more accessible and easier to spread.

Go deeperArrowSep 29, 2019

The promising decline in global child mortality

Graphics: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

The number of children who die before the age of 5 has declined steadily around the world, as newborn mortality and cases of pneumonia have dropped, according to a report from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The big picture: Inequality between countries is decreasing across the globe, but the gaps remain sizable. The report indicates the most predictive factor about a child's future is where they are born.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Sep 21, 2019

The philanthropic interests of billionaire David Shaw

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A ProPublica investigation has given significant insight into the philanthropic predilections of hedge fund billionaire David Shaw.

What we know: Shaw donated $37.3 million over the course of 7 years to Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, Columbia and Brown. The donations, most of which went to universities where neither he nor his wife had any connection, accounted for the majority of his charitable giving. His apparent aim: "Making selecting a college as easy as ordering from a takeout menu."

Go deeperArrowOct 10, 2019