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HELPLINE: CHILDREN The Mandate to Report, The Opportunity to Prevent
© 2006 Prevent Child Abuse Georgia2 Expectations and Goals
The Mandate to Report, The Opportunity to Prevent © 2006 Prevent Child Abuse Georgia3 Overview Introduction to Prevent Child Abuse (PCA) Georgia The Evolution of Child Abuse Prevention Prevention in the 21 st Century Recognizing and Reporting Child Maltreatment Protective Factors for Prevention CHILDREN Helpline
The Mandate to Report, The Opportunity to Prevent © 2006 Prevent Child Abuse Georgia4 Preventive Action
The Mandate to Report, The Opportunity to Prevent © 2006 Prevent Child Abuse Georgia5 5 Continuum of Prevention Preventing Revictimization Preventing Initial Abuse PrimaryTertiarySecondary
Why Prevention is so Important
The Mandate to Report, The Opportunity to Prevent © 2006 Prevent Child Abuse Georgia7 Facts About Child Maltreatment In Georgia (2008): 84,035 reports made to DFCS 88% of reports were screened out, unsubstantiated, closed or diverted.
The Mandate to Report, The Opportunity to Prevent © 2006 Prevent Child Abuse Georgia8 Not always safe at home Over 80% of maltreaters are the child’s biological parent 90% of child abuse occurs in the victim’s home
The Mandate to Report, The Opportunity to Prevent © 2006 Prevent Child Abuse Georgia9 Nationally In Georgia, over 78% of substantiated abuse is neglect.
The Mandate to Report, The Opportunity to Prevent © 2006 Prevent Child Abuse Georgia10 Child Fatalities Nationally, 1,760 children died of abuse and neglect in one year. (Administration for Children and Families, 2007.) 97% of all child deaths related to abuse were determined to be possibly or definitely preventable GA Child Fatality Review Annual Report 2006
The Mandate to Report, The Opportunity to Prevent © 2006 Prevent Child Abuse Georgia11 Cost of Child Maltreatment Estimated annual costs of treating the effects of child maltreatment are over $100 billion (PCA America 2007)
The Mandate to Report, The Opportunity to Prevent -- George W. Albee, Ph.D. “No epidemic has ever been resolved by paying attention to the treatment of the affected individual.”
Recognizing and Reporting Child Maltreatment The Mandate to Report
The Mandate to Report, The Opportunity to Prevent © 2006 Prevent Child Abuse Georgia14 Physical Abuse Non-accidental physical injury of a child PHYSICAL INDICATORS Unexplained bruises and welts Unexplained burns Unexplained fractures / dislocations Bald patches on the scalp BEHAVIORAL INDICATORS Feels deserving of punishment Wary of adult/physical contact Frightened of parents/afraid to go home Self-destructive behaviors Wears clothing to cover body – inappropriate for weather
The Mandate to Report, The Opportunity to Prevent © 2006 Prevent Child Abuse Georgia15 Neglect Includes lack of adequate food, shelter, clothing, medical care; unmet emotional/psychological needs; educational/ cognitive neglect; lack of supervision; birth addicted (drug exposure) PHYSICAL INDICATORS Consistent hunger/underweight Poor hygiene Consistent lack of supervision Unattended physical/medical needs Failure to thrive/poor growth Lice, distended stomach Inappropriate dress BEHAVIORAL INDICATORS Self-destructive behaviors Begging, stealing food Extended stays at school (early arrival and late departures) Constant fatigue, listlessness Assuming adult responsibilities Says no caretaker at home Frequently absent / tardy
The Mandate to Report, The Opportunity to Prevent © 2006 Prevent Child Abuse Georgia16 Sexual Abuse Exploitation of a child for the sexual gratification of an adult or older child. Includes touching (fondling, sodomy, rape) and non-touching (child prostitution, indecent exposure and exhibitionism, exposing a child to pornography or using the Internet as a vehicle for exploitation). PHYSICAL INDICATORS Difficulty walking or sitting Torn, stained, bloody underclothing Pain, swelling, itching in genital area; bruises, bleeding or laceration on external genitalia Pain on urination; infections Presence of STD BEHAVIORAL INDICATORS Inappropriate sex play; advanced knowledge and promiscuity Loss of appetite; trouble eating or swallowing Mood swings, anger, withdrawal Excessive worrying about siblings Nightmares – problems sleeping Suddenly having money / secrets
The Mandate to Report, The Opportunity to Prevent © 2006 Prevent Child Abuse Georgia17 Emotional Abuse Excessive/aggressive parental behavior that places unreasonable demands on a child; verbal abuse; rejection, terrorizing, shameful punishment; withholding physical/emotional contact, and/or inappropriate expectations PHYSICAL INDICATORS Speech or other communication disorder Delayed physical development Exacerbation of existing conditions such as asthma or allergies Substance abuse BEHAVIORAL INDICATORS Habit disorders (sucking, rocking) Antisocial or destructive behaviors Neurotic traits/sleep disorders Behavioral extremes Developmental delays
The Mandate to Report, The Opportunity to Prevent © 2006 Prevent Child Abuse Georgia18 When a Child Discloses Maltreatment Find a private place to talk with the child Reassure the child: “I believe you,” “I’m glad you told me,” “It’s not your fault.” Listen attentively and calmly Write down the facts/words as the child stated First statements made spontaneously have forensic significance Exact words can be important to investigators
The Mandate to Report, The Opportunity to Prevent © 2006 Prevent Child Abuse Georgia19 When a Child Discloses Maltreatment Respect the child’s need for confidentiality Leave investigative work to professionals Minimize the number of questions you ask Avoid the use of leading questions Don’t try to get all of the details Report the disclosure immediately to designated reporter (or CPS/police)
The Mandate to Report, The Opportunity to Prevent © 2006 Prevent Child Abuse Georgia20 Types of Disclosures Indirect Hints Disguised Disclosures Disclosures with Strings Attached
The Mandate to Report, The Opportunity to Prevent © 2006 Prevent Child Abuse Georgia21 Reporting Child Maltreatment OCGA defines abuse and outlines reporting guidelines “Reasonable suspicions,” not necessarily direct evidence An oral report should be made to DFCS (CPS) office in county where the child lives within 24 hours When unable to reach DFCS or if child is in immediate danger, contact police or DA
The Mandate to Report, The Opportunity to Prevent © 2006 Prevent Child Abuse Georgia22 Information Useful for Report Name, age, address and current location of child (School child attends, if known) Name and address of child’s parents or caregivers (if known) Name and address of suspected perpetrator Location where the abuse took place (if known) The nature/extent of the child’s injuries/neglect, including evidence of previous injuries/neglect Any other information helpful in establishing cause of injuries/neglect or perpetrator identity
The Mandate to Report, The Opportunity to Prevent © 2006 Prevent Child Abuse Georgia23 Mandated Reporters Georgia law requires certain individuals to report suspected child abuse: School teachers/administrators School guidance counselors, visiting teachers, social workers, school psychologists Child care providers Child welfare agency personnel Child counseling personnel Law enforcement personnel Licensed psychologists (interns) Physicians licensed to practice medicine; interns/residents Registered professional nurses / Licensed practical nurses Hospital or medical personnel Dentists Podiatrists Staff and volunteers at child- and family- serving agencies * Mandated reporters should know and follow the child abuse reporting protocol in their agency
The Mandate to Report, The Opportunity to Prevent © 2006 Prevent Child Abuse Georgia24 Mandated Reporters Rights of the Mandated Reporter Anonymity or confidentiality Knowledge of the outcome only of a report Penalties for NOT reporting Guilty of misdemeanor –OCGA (h) Discipline by school/agency and/or termination of employment
The Mandate to Report, The Opportunity to Prevent © 2006 Prevent Child Abuse Georgia25 Role of Child Protective Services Involved only with children under 18 Investigates substantiated suspected abuse/neglect Has authority to: Interview the child and parents/ caregivers Arrange for child’s medical examination, if necessary Assess parents/caregivers’ abilities to care for/protect child Provide support for services to parents/caregivers Request immediate temporary custody of child from judge in juvenile court when abuse/ neglect is substantiated Petition court for permanent custody when parents/ guardians (when given support) fail to demonstrate ability or willingness to care for the child
Protective Factors for Prevention The Opportunity to Prevent
The Mandate to Report, The Opportunity to Prevent © 2006 Prevent Child Abuse Georgia27 Preventing Child Maltreatment Know the conditions that may lead to child maltreatment Identify and reduce risk factors
The Mandate to Report, The Opportunity to Prevent © 2006 Prevent Child Abuse Georgia28 Parental / Family Factors Parental / Caregiver Immaturity Unrealistic Expectations Social Isolation Unmet Emotional Needs Frequent Crisis Poor Childhood Experiences Drug/Alcohol Problems Mental Illness Poor Family Boundaries Dangerous home environment Situations vulnerable to abuse and neglect:
The Mandate to Report, The Opportunity to Prevent © 2006 Prevent Child Abuse Georgia29 Resistance and Resilience Recognize and increase protective factors
The Mandate to Report, The Opportunity to Prevent © 2006 Prevent Child Abuse Georgia30 Protective Factors Parental resilience Social connections Knowledge of parenting / child development Concrete supports in times of need Social / emotional development of children
The Mandate to Report, The Opportunity to Prevent © 2006 Prevent Child Abuse Georgia31 Protective Factors Children have access to appropriate role models Children are surrounded with secure relationships Families are linked to services; medical, community- based, faith-based Community social norms value the importance of families seeking help Neighbors look out for one another Programs and services promote resilience in families and children
The Mandate to Report, The Opportunity to Prevent © 2006 Prevent Child Abuse Georgia32 Protective Factors FAMILYCOMMUNITY AGENCYCOMMUNITY Develops close bonding with child; effective/open communication Is nurturing and protective; implements and regularly reinforces family safety plan Uses high warmth/low criticism parenting style (versus authoritarian or permissive) Values and encourages education Manages stress Makes spending time with children a priority Encourages supportive relationships with caring adults beyond the immediate family Seeks professional help and support when needed Expresses positive expectations Encourages goal setting and mastery Encourages pro-social development (altruism, empathy and cooperation) Provides opportunities for leadership and participation Fosters active involvement for all (whatever their learning style or ability) Provides a family-friendly environment and education Involves parents Staff views themselves as caring people and models pro-social behavior Provides opportunities for family and child to participate in community life Involves youth in community services Provides supportive social and health networks Leaders prioritize community health, safety and quality of life for families Provides access to resources (healthcare, housing, day care, job training, employment, education and recreation) Stays educated about child abuse and child abuse prevention (warning sign behavior / adult and community responsibility)
The Mandate to Report, The Opportunity to Prevent © 2006 Prevent Child Abuse Georgia33 Prevent Child Abuse Georgia
The Mandate to Report, The Opportunity to Prevent © 2006 Prevent Child Abuse Georgia34 Adult Responsibility A family/community culture of communication Education about risk factors and warning sign behaviors in adults and youth Balanced understanding for accountability and treatment of perpetrators The most important thing we can do as adults to prevent the perpetration of child maltreatment is talk to each other and hold ourselves and others responsible for protecting children.
The Mandate to Report, The Opportunity to Prevent © 2006 Prevent Child Abuse Georgia35 If we are sincere in our concern for children, If we are truly dedicated to empowering families to reach their full potential and ensuring the well-being of all children… Something to Consider
The Mandate to Report, The Opportunity to Prevent © 2006 Prevent Child Abuse Georgia36 Then we have…. “…promises to keep, and miles to go before we sleep Taken from Robert Frost’s Poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” Something to Consider
The Mandate to Report, The Opportunity to Prevent CHILDREN
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