World Childhood Foundation USA is proud to announce the release of the

2024 United States Out of the Shadows Index

The 2024 United States Out of the Shadows Index, sponsored by World Childhood Foundation USA and developed by Economist Impact, shines a spotlight on state action—and inaction—to address child sexual exploitation and abuse (CSEA). The 2024 iteration of the Index builds on the findings of the 2022 pilot which assessed 12 states against these metrics. The second index offers a more comprehensive picture of the results across 28 states.

CSEA is a preventable,
not inevitable, problem.

Together, we must create a country where every child is free from harm. Please join us in advocating for change by contacting the policymakers in your community and state.

Using over 170 individual metrics aggregated into 21 indicators and four domains, the index evaluates: state legal protections and criminal provisions; investments in prevention capacity building; the adequacy of support services; and the delivery of survivor-centered justice processes. Overall, the index finds that holistic action to address CSEA is lacking across the U.S. On average, the 28 states in the index score just 49 out of 100. If these scores were equated to academic grades, just three states—Connecticut, Delaware and Washington—would achieve above an F grade.

Scored 0-100, where 100 = best. 

Detailed rankings
The U.S. is a long way from where it needs to be to eradicate CSEA. Most states in the index receive failing grades, and failing grades mean the U.S. is failing its children. It does not have to be this way; CSEA is preventable. States need to focus on building a more holistic approach that applies a public health lens, empowers youth and promotes survivor agency, ensures systems are child-centered and trauma-informed, and incorporates accountability.

Report and state profiles

The U.S. Out of the Shadows Index considers both state-level action and national results, highlighting where progress has been achieved and where reforms are needed to safeguard our most vulnerable members of society. The state profiles provide a more in-depth look at progress made in specific states. Find out where your state ranks.

Download the full report and the state profiles below.

index rankings for all 28 states

Prevention

Response

Overall

1 Washington 61.5
2 Delaware 59.6
3 Connecticut 59.5
4 Pennsylvania 57.6
5 Illinois 57
6 Texas 56.3
7 Vermont 55.4
8 Colorado 54.7
9 Florida 54.5
10 Utah 52.8
11 Nevada 50.6
12 Iowa 49.9
13 Louisiana 49.4
— AVERAGE 48.8
14 Kentucky 48.5
15 Oklahoma 48.2
16 Ohio 45.9
17 New Mexico 45.6
17 New York 45.6
19 West Virginia 45
20 California 44.9
21 Massachusetts 44.5
22 Alaska 44
23 North Dakota 43.8
24 Minnesota 43.7
25 Michigan 42.7
26 North Carolina 37.5
27 Wyoming 35.1
28 Mississippi 33.8

Legal Protections & Criminal Provisions

1 Colorado 75.5
2 Minnesota 73.1
2 Vermont 73.1
4 Florida 71.6
5 Illinois 67.3
6 Texas 65.2
7 Pennsylvania 64.9
8 Connecticut 64.5
9 Nevada 63.4
9 Washington 63.4
11 New York 62.4
12 Louisiana 62.2
13 Ohio 60.9
13 Oklahoma 60.9
— AVERAGE 60.2
15 Delaware 60
16 Utah 59.6
17 Alaska 56.9
18 North Dakota 55.3
19 Iowa 55.2
20 West Virginia 54
21 Massachusetts 53.3
22 New Mexico 53
23 California 52.7
24 Michigan 52.5
25 Kentucky 51.8
26 Mississippi 51.3
27 North Carolina 50.9
28 Wyoming 49.8

Prevention Capacity
Building

1 Illinois 60.4
2 Connecticut 56.2
3 Pennsylvania 47.9
4 Texas 47
5 Delaware 44.5
5 Washington 44.5
7 Vermont 44.1
8 Utah 41.2
9 Massachusetts 40.8
10 Florida 40.4
11 Colorado 40
12 West Virginia 39.9
13 North Carolina 37.5
— AVERAGE 37.2
14 Oklahoma 34.7
15 Iowa 34.4
16 Ohio 34.1
17 Kentucky 34
18 North Dakota 33.7
19 Nevada 32.1
20 New Mexico 32
21 Louisiana 31.3
22 Minnesota 31.2
23 New York 30.2
24 Alaska 29.3
25 Wyoming 28.6
26 Michigan 26.9
27 California 26.4
28 Mississippi 17.7

Provision of Support Services

1 Washington 70.5
2 Louisiana 64.7
3 Delaware 63.9
4 Florida 61.8
5 New York 60.5
6 Texas 60.4
7 Colorado 60.2
8 Oklahoma 58.9
9 Illinois 58.4
10 Iowa 58.3
11 Connecticut 57.4
12 Pennsylvania 56.9
13 Utah 56.2
14 New Mexico 53.6
15 California 53.3
— AVERAGE 50.9
16 Massachusetts 49.4
17 North Dakota 49.3
18 Michigan 47.2
19 Vermont 47.1
20 West Virginia 45.8
21 Nevada 45.5
22 Kentucky 43.8
23 Ohio 41.4
24 Mississippi 40.5
25 Alaska 38
26 North Carolina 36
27 Wyoming 25.3
28 Minnesota 21.3

Justice
Process

1 Delaware 77.3
2 Washington 75.3
3 Kentucky 70.3
4 Nevada 64.3
5 Pennsylvania 61.9
6 Connecticut 59.3
7 Iowa 57
8 Utah 56.8
9 Vermont 53.9
10 Alaska 52.8
11 Texas 52.6
12 California 52.3
— AVERAGE 47.3
13 Michigan 47.1
14 New Mexico 46.8
15 Ohio 45.8
16 Florida 42.4
17 Louisiana 42.1
18 Minnesota 40.6
19 Colorado 40
20 Oklahoma 38.8
21 West Virginia 38.4
22 North Dakota 36.1
23 Illinois 35.2
24 Wyoming 32.7
25 Massachusetts 31.9
26 New York 28.4
27 Mississippi 24.8
28 North Carolina 18.8

Methodology, data, and 2022 pilot reports

Click on the links below for additional information about the 2024 and 2022 iterations of the Index.

2024 U.S. Out of the Shadows
Index Data

To see the detailed underlying data and scores for each state across all metrics included in the study, please download the model from the Economist Impact hub.

Watch the 2022 Out of the Shadows Index video and find out from frontline responders, advocates and researchers how we are failing to protect our children from CSEA.