CAI’s Administrative Director Elisa Weichel ’90 (JD) Quoted in The Boston Globe Asking: How Many Children Die from Abuse?

Elisa WeichelElisa Weichel, Administrative Director snd Staff Attorney, Children's Advocacy Institute

SAN DIEGO (December 13, 2019) – University of San Diego (USD) School of Law Children’s Advocacy Institute (CAI) Administrative Director and Staff Attorney, Elisa Weichel '90 (JD), was quoted in The Boston Globe article on its investigation to determine how many children die from abuse and neglect.

According to the article, “experts have long suspected that the United States badly undercounts the number of children who die from abuse and neglect.” Most suggesting that the voluntary reporting systems could be off by as much as 200 percent.

Through the article, The Boston Globe and ProPublica published state reports that are more detailed than previously publically available. Of those states that reported, the results of what data was collected and what data was missing were alarming. Although mandated to report, some states refused to report, don’t collect the information, or wanted high dollar amounts to produce the information.

“This is one of the few areas where Congress has removed the cloak of secrecy and still, some states are trying to operate this way,” said Elisa Weichel, administrative director and staff attorney for CAI. “We can’t learn from our mistakes if we don’t know what happened.”

To read the article by Jessica Huseman, Emily Palmer and Heather Shroering click here.

About the Children’s Advocacy Institute

The Children’s Advocacy Institute (CAI), founded at the nonprofit University of San Diego School of Law in 1989, is one of the nation's premiere academic, research, and advocacy organizations working to improve the lives of children and youth, with special emphasis on improving the child protection and foster care systems and enhancing resources that are available to youth aging out of foster care.

In its academic component, CAI trains law students and attorneys to be effective child advocates throughout their legal careers. Its Child Advocacy Clinic gives USD Law students three distinct clinical opportunities to advocate on behalf of children and youth, and its Dependency Counsel Training Program provides comprehensive training to licensed attorneys engaged in or contemplating Dependency Court practice.

CAI's research and advocacy component, conducted through its offices in San Diego, Sacramento, and Washington, D.C., seeks to leverage change for children and youth through impact litigation, regulatory and legislative advocacy, and public education. Active primarily at the federal and state levels, CAI's efforts are multi-faceted—comprehensively and successfully embracing all tools of public interest advocacy to improve the lives of children and youth. To support CAI’s work, please visit

About the University of San Diego School of Law

Each year, USD educates approximately 800 Juris Doctor and graduate law students from throughout the United States and around the world.  The law school is best known for its offerings in the areas of business and corporate law, constitutional law, intellectual property, international and comparative law, public interest law and taxation.

USD School of Law is one of the 84 law schools elected to the Order of the Coif, a national honor society for law school graduates.  The law school's faculty is a strong group of outstanding scholars and teachers with national and international reputations and currently ranks 36th nationally among U.S. law faculties in scholarly impact and 22nd nationally in past-year faculty downloads on the Social Sciences Research Network (SSRN). The school is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. Founded in 1954, the law school is part of the University of San Diego, a private, independent, Roman Catholic university chartered in 1949.


Katie Gonzalez
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