A young child looking disinterested as a teacher tries to engage in a lesson with magnets and shapes in Springfield, IL.

How Child Abuse Affects Academic Achievement

Sadly, it is widely recognized that children have a greater chance of poor academic performance when they have suffered abuse or neglect. Furthermore, studies indicate that children who have been neglected perform worse academically than children who have been physically mistreated. Abuse during a child’s first five years of existence nearly triples the chance of issues with their school performance, leading to social and academic inequalities as they age. These students are far more likely to drop out before finishing secondary school.

We have found consistent support from advocates like our CASA volunteers is a key resource for these neglected and/or abused children to be encouraged to finish school and help them along the way; these kids need advocates! How does abuse affect a child’s ability to achieve academically? Keep reading to learn more about this and how you can help.

Cognitive Ability & Memory

One of the major effects of abuse on children is damage to their cognitive abilities and memory. When placed in a new or consistent academic setting, it can be difficult for abused children to remember lessons, when to complete their work, and how to apply new skills. In terms of sexual abuse, these statistics have been discovered for abused 7-12-year-old girls:

  • “39% displayed academic difficulties
  • 24% repeated a grade
  • 15% were enrolled in a remedial class
  • 48% reported below-average grades
  • over 37% displayed cognitive ability below 25%” (CASA).

Abuse of all kinds can affect children’s academic performance. To aid in the safety of abused and neglected children, learn more about how to become a CASA advocate.

Stability in Education

Recent studies have shown that teachers and other school personnel are the first people a child reports abuse to more than 50% of the time. Therefore, it makes sense that the stability and safety found in education are among the most beneficial resources CASA volunteers can use while advocating child abuse cases. Professionals working with young children in the education system are trained in identifying signs of abuse and neglect early in their careers. If a child is suspected of being abused or neglected, a process is played out, and often a CASA advocate will be appointed to their case through juvenile court. Our volunteers at CASA of Sangamon County work with teachers to create a comfortable and safe environment for children outside of their abused home and use this stability to help them achieve academically. Contact our office at 217.522.2241 in Springfield, IL to learn more about our court-appointed volunteer opportunities today!

Disinterest & Trauma

When children are placed in the foster care system, they move into new homes and often have to change schools – all while being expected to maintain focus and emotional stability. This transition is hard for neglected and/or abused children who need your help! At CASA of Sangamon County, our advocates recognize the direct impact on a child’s disinterest in schooling during this difficult transition and into the future. These children are already dealing with emotional trauma and/or rejection from physical neglect. They are then placed in a new environment that can be difficult to feel safe in, let alone motivated to focus on academics. Our CASA volunteers recognize these children’s educational disadvantage and stand as consistent, positive adults in their lives (as long as their case is open). Become a CASA volunteer to help encourage and guide abused and/or neglected children in Sangamon County to excel academically in their new environment!

How Becoming a CASA Advocate Can Help

CASA advocates are everyday people – from teachers and business professionals to stay-at-home parents – committed to helping children overcome their abuse and trauma. These court-appointed volunteers help guide children to positive decision-making that will improve their academic performance, social skills, and emotional stability with trusted adults. During a child’s time in the welfare system, CASA advocates research case records and speak to those involved in the child’s life to ensure their needs at both home and school are met consistently. Become a CASA volunteer today when you work with our Sangamon County office in Springfield, IL. We will train you to make a difference in a child’s life!

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