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Child Abuse Recognition and Response Community Services Board Molly M. Clemmitt, LCSW Department of Human Services Arlington County.

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Presentation on theme: "Child Abuse Recognition and Response Community Services Board Molly M. Clemmitt, LCSW Department of Human Services Arlington County."— Presentation transcript:

1 Child Abuse Recognition and Response Community Services Board Molly M. Clemmitt, LCSW Department of Human Services Arlington County

2 Overview n Scope of Abuse n Mandated Reporting n Liability n Types of Abuse Physical Abuse Emotional Abuse Neglect Sexual Abuse n Making a Report n Working with Child Protective Services

3 Scope of Child Abuse in US* n 60,000 reports processed weekly n 3.5 million children received a Child Protective Services (CPS) investigation. n 877,000 children were found to be either abused or neglected * US Department of Health and Human Services 2004 Statistics

4 Perpetrators n 84 % Parents – 39% by mothers acting alone – 18% by fathers acting alone – 18% abused by both n 10% Other caregivers –Unmarried partners, guardians, other caretakers, etc. n 10% Other

5 Scope of Child Abuse in Virginia* n 31, 000 reports made –45, 000 children were reported –39,000 caretakers were reported n 4,200 founded cases n 31 children died as a result of abuse * VA Department of Social Services 2005 Statistics

6 Victims n 52% Girls n 48% Boys n The younger the child, the greater likelihood of abuse/neglect

7 Victims—Children with Disabilities n Disabled children are at higher risk for abuse/neglect (~ 7.5% of all cases reported) n WHY –Caregiver lack of knowledge/resources –Caregiver frustration –Child’s lack of communication or ability to defend –Child may be unknowing/willing to trust regardless –Society’s devaluation of disabled children

8 Mandated Reporters “The following persons who, in their professional or official capacity, have reason to suspect that a child (under age 18) is an abused or neglected child, shall report the matter immediately (within 72 hours)…”

9 Who are Mandated Reporters? n Teachers or others employed by schools n Physicians, nurses, hospital residents or interns n Christian Science Practitioners n Mental Health Professionals n Social Workers n Probation Officers n Law-enforcement Officers n Any person associated with or employed by any private organization responsible for the care, custody or control of children

10 Liability n Our duty is only to report our suspicions, not determine abuse n There is no risk of liability if made in good faith-- The reporter is immune from civil and/or criminal liability in these cases n Failure to report within the 72 hour time-frame is punishable by fine n Anonymity

11 Validation Criteria n Child under 18 years old n Suspected abuse and neglect n Abuser is a caretaker n Jurisdiction

12 Types of Child Abuse n Physical Abuse n Emotional Abuse n Neglect n Sexual Abuse

13 Physical Abuse Physical abuse occurs when a caregiver responsible for a child’s care creates or inflicts, threatens to create or inflict, or allows to be created or inflicted upon such child a physical injury by other than accidental means, or creates a substantial risk of death, disfigurement,or impairment of bodily functions.

14 Types of Physical Abuse n Hitting, Punching or Slapping n Pinching n Beating n Asphyxiation/ Smothering n Poisoning n Bizarre Discipline n Burning or Scalding n Shaken Baby Syndrome n Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy

15 Indicators of Physical Abuse n Unexplained bruises/welts (pattern bruises) n Unexplained burns/scalds (pattern burns) n Unexplained fracture/laceration n Injuries inconsistent with an explanation n Complaint of abdominal pain or soreness n Injuries in various stages of healing n Disclosure

16 Emotional Abuse Emotional abuse occurs when a caretaker creates or inflicts, threatens to create or inflict, or allows to be created or inflicted upon such a child a mental injury by other than accidental means,or creates a substantial risk of death, disfigurement,or impairment of mental functions.

17 Types of Emotional Abuse n Consistent failure to provide a child with support, attention and affection n Chronic pattern of negative behaviors such as belittling, humiliation, ridicule n Exposure of a child to domestic violence n Bizarre Discipline n Threatened or actual acts of violence against the family pet or other animals

18 Indicators of Emotional Abuse n Habit Disorders (biting, head banging, or thumbsucking by an older child) n Conduct Disorders n Sleep Disorders n Behavior extremes n Self Destructive or Suicidal n Parentified or inappropriately infantile n Cruelty (animals) n Substance abuse n Non-organic failure to thrive n Developmental lags n Disclosure

19 Neglect Neglect occurs when a caregiver neglects or refuses to provide care necessary for the child’s health, abandons such a child, or when a child is without parental care or guardianship caused by the unreasonable absence or the mental or physical incapacity of the child’s parent, guardian…

20 Types of Neglect n Inadequate: –Shelter –Supervision –Clothing –Personal hygiene –Food n Medical Neglect

21 Indicators of Neglect n Infant non-organic failure to thrive n Malnutrition, hunger, poor hygiene, inappropriate dress n Lack of Supervision n Unattended physical/medical/ mental health needs n Abandonment n Distended stomach/emaciated n Untreated lice/ringworm n Constant fatigue or listlessness n Uninvolved or unavailable caretaker n Disclosure

22 Sexual Abuse “Sexual abuse occurs when caregivers commits or allows to be committed any act of sexual exploitation or any sexual act upon the child in violation of the law.” Sexual abuse happens when a person in a position of power or authority takes advantage of a child for their own sexual gratification.”

23 Types of Sexual Abuse n Sexual Exploitation/prostitution n Forcing a child to watch sexual conduct n Exposure n Indecent solicitation n Sexual abuse via the internet n Child Pornography n Sexual Harassment n Intercourse and sodomy n Sexual molestation n Incest

24 Indicators of Sexual Abuse n Difficulty walking/sitting n Torn, stained or bloody underclothes n Pain in genital area or when urinating n Frequent urinary infection n Bed wetting n Encopresis or Enuresis n Sexually acting out n Excessive masturbation n Hyperactivity or Hypervigilance n Possession of unexplained money or gifts n Fire starting/Cruelty to animals n Child reports abuse

25 Indicators of Sexual Abuse n Child has role of adult n Alcohol or drug abuse n Other criminal or delinquent behaviors n Regressive behaviors

26 What If You Suspect Abuse? n Virginia Law requires that Mandated Reporters make their report immediately upon obtaining information that triggers suspicion that child abuse has occurred, and in no case later than 72 hours.

27 Who to Call? n Child Protective Services (CPS): Arlington: (703) n Virginia Hotline: n Police: 911 If child is in imminent danger.

28 What to Report? n Names (siblings) n Parents/Guardians/ Child Care n Child Care Arrangements n Ages n School Info (Grade, Schedule, etc.) n Emergency Contact Numbers n Address and Phone Numbers n Anything else you know

29 How To Respond n Listen carefully and use the child’s own vocabulary n Do Not Investigate--Do Not Ask Leading Questions n Do not notify the parents if a report is made n Be supportive n Your support is crucial for the child’s resilience

30 Working with CPS n Once a report is made, CPS Intake can only tell you whether or not a case meets criteria and will be investigated. n If you have a release from your client, then you and the CPS worker may exchange additional information during a CPS investigation/assessment.

31 Conclusion You may be the one person in this child’s life who makes a difference


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