Presentation on theme: "Identifying, reporting, and preventing child abuse and neglect"— Presentation transcript:
1 Identifying, reporting, and preventing child abuse and neglect Navigating the Child Welfare SystemIdentifying, reporting, and preventing child abuse and neglectNanette Bishop, MBS, LPC, LADCAdministration for Children and Families, Region VI
2 The Plan Introductions What do you want to learn while you’re here? ActivityCosts and national overviewRisk factorsTypes of abuse and typical signsReporting requirements, legal and ethical, while supporting the childReporting how to’sThe Real World: audience’s experiencesWhat happens after a report is madePrevention: The Cutting EdgeQ&A
3 Costs of Child Abuse and Neglect An estimated 906,000 children were victims of child abuse or neglect in 2003.Physical healthInjuries directly caused by abuse & those afterward.Shaken baby syndrome leads to blindness, learning disabilities, mental retardation, cerebral palsy, paralysisPsychological problems can result in high-risk behaviors. For example, depression/anxiety may result in increased sexual activity, smoking, alcohol/drug abuse, or overeating, which can lead to sexually transmitted diseases, cancer, heart disease, obesity, and other diseases.Mental, emotional, intellectual, behavioral healthImpaired brain, cognitive, and language development and functioning, academic achievement, and social functioningA wide range of psychiatric disorders (depression, anxiety, ADHD, PTSD, etc…)Delinquency, teen pregnancy, drug use, incarceration, etc...Societal CostsDirect: An estimated 24 billion per year (Prevent Child Abuse America, 2001)Indirect: An estimated 69 billion per year (Prevent Child Abuse America, 2001)Fifty percent of investigated reports come from professionals just like you.
4 The Federal Child Protection Law: CAPTA (The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act) Purpose and Goals:Federal Law first enacted in 1974; amended most recently in 2003.To improve prevention, identification, investigation, and treatment of child maltreatmentDefines a minimum standard of child abuse and neglect that States use as a foundation to specify their own definitions.Requires certain professionals, as specified by each State, to report suspected child abuse/neglect to the State agency.Two major programs are funded through CAPTA:CAPTA general program: State CPS agencies administer CAPTA.Community Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP): Focused on preventing child maltreatment. Can be run by the State CPS agency OR a separate agency chosen by the governor.
5 CAPTA: minimum standard definition of child maltreatment Any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse and exploitation; orAn act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm(States take it from there)
6 Risk Factors Child Risk Factors Birth: Premature, low birth weight, disabilities, exposure to toxins in utero,Older: Difficult to warm up, aggression, behavior problems, attention deficitsPhysical/cognitive/emotional disability, chronic or serious illness, traumaAge, anti-social peer groupParental/Family Risk FactorsExternal locus of control, unwanted pregnancy, unrealistic expectations about child development, poor parent-child interaction, negative attitudes about child's behaviorPsychopathology, poor impulse control, substance abuse, depression, anxiety, insecurityStressful life events, low tolerance for frustrationAbused as children, lack of trustHigh conflict, domestic violence, divorce (especially high conflict divorce)Young, unsupported, single parent, high number of children in household, isolationSocial/Environmental Risk FactorsPoverty (the most frequently and persistently noted risk factor of all)Unemployment, homelessness, dangerous/violent communityLack of medical care, health insurance, adequate child care, and social servicesPoor schools, environmental toxins, racism/discrimination
7 What is Neglect?Failure to provide for a child’s needs. We need to be careful, however. Cultural values, standards of care in the community, and poverty may contribute to what we may or may not personally consider neglect.Neglect comprises over 50% of all reportsTypes of neglect include:Physical: lack of food, shelter, supervisionMedical: medical or mental health treatmentEducational (including special education needs)Emotional: Lack of parental attention and guidance, permitting a child to use alcohol or drugsTypical signs of neglect in a child:Appears malnourished, begs, steals, or hoards foodHas poor hygiene, matted hair, dirty skin, severe body odorUnattended medical or physical problemsSays that no one is home to care for themChild or caretaker abuses drugs or alcohol
8 What is Physical Abuse? Punching Beating Kicking Shaking Slapping Physical injury ranging from minor bruises to severe fractures or death as a result of any method or harm, including:PunchingBeatingKickingShakingSlappingHittingChokingBurningThrowingStabbingBitingOthers?These injuries are considered abuse whether or not the caretaker meant to hurt the child.Physical abuse comprises around 25% of all reports.Typical signs include (especially in various stages of healing):Broken bones, unexplained bruises, burns, weltsChild cannot explain an injury OR explanations given by the child or caretaker are not consistent with the injuryChild is unusually frightened by a caretaker or is afraid to go homeChild reports intentional injury by caretaker
9 What is Sexual Abuse?Includes activities by a parent or caretaker such as:Fondling a child’s genitalsPenetrationExploitation through prostitution or pornographic materialsRapeIncestSodomyIndecent exposureSexual abuse comprises around 11% of all reportsTypical signs of sexual abuse in a child:Pain or bleeding in anal or genital area, often with redness or swelling, pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseasesAge-inappropriate play with toys, self, or othersInappropriate knowledge about sexChild reports sexual abuse
10 What is Emotional Abuse? A pattern of behavior by a caretaker that impairs a child’s emotional development or sense of self worth.Almost always present when other forms are identified.Often difficult to prove and CPS may not be able to intervene without evidence of harm.Comprises around 3% of all reportsTypical signs of emotional abuse include:Caretaker constantly criticizes, threatens, belittles, insults, or rejects childCaretaker withholds love, support, or guidanceChild exhibits extremes in behavior from overly aggressive to overly passiveChild displays delayed physical, emotional, or intellectual development
11 Reporting: Legalities and Ethics Most medical personnel, law enforcement, educators, social service providers and child care providers are bound by professional ethics and/or State law to report suspected child abuse/neglect.Eighteen States require every citizen to report it regardless of their profession.Know your State’s laws (handout) and your professional organizations’ ethical requirementsReporting abuse or neglect frequently becomes an ethical dilemma due to complex and conflicting ethical requirements. Breaching confidentiality and breaking the law both constitute unethical behavior.Regardless of potential professional difficulties, caring adults must intervene on behalf of children who may be suffering from abuse or neglect. Remember: over fifty percent of all investigated reports come from professionals.
12 Reporting Child Maltreatment Contact your State or Local CPS office. In some States, you can file a report online. Not all States have one hotline. Some are not open 24 hours. Some do not work outside the State.The National Child Abuse Hotline can provide the most updated reporting contact info 24/7 if you cannot locate it. Visit or call A-CHILDHave the following information ready as much as possible:Child’s name and locationSuspected perpetrator’s name and relationship to the childA description of what you saw or heardNames of any other people who may know about the abuseYour name and phone numberNames of reporters are not disclosed, but your identity may become known to the family during the course of the investigation. Discussing this with involved parties up front is best.The best way to protect yourself and your clients is to tell them when you first meet them that you must report any abuse you may suspect. To formalize this agreement, provide it in writing and have them sign it.
13 The Real World: Our Experiences with Child Abuse and Neglect
14 What happens after I make a report? Screened by CPS staff. Enough credible information to indicate maltreatment or risk= referred to an investigatorInvestigated within a specific time period, prioritized based on potential severityInvestigator may interview child, family, teachers, childcare workers, doctors, or othersIF the investigator believes the State’s standard for abuse/neglect has not been met, the case will be closed. The family may or may not be referred elsewhere for services.IF the investigator believes the child is at risk of harm, the family may be referred to services to reduce the risk of harm including:Mental health careMedical careParenting skills classesEmployment assistanceFinancial or housing assistanceIn some cases where the child’s safety cannot be ensured, the child may be removed from the home and placed in a foster home while the agency works further with the caretakers.
15 Prevention: Protective Factors to Build On Child Protective FactorsGood health, development, and self-esteem, social skills/peer relationships, intelligenceHobbies and interestsEasy temperament, positive disposition, resilienceInternal locus of control, active coping style, balance between help seeking and autonomyParental/Family Protective FactorsSecure attachment to family: positive, stable, warm, supportive parent-child-family relationshipsHousehold rules/structure; parental monitoring, expectations of pro-social behaviorExtended family support and involvement, including care giving helpParents have a model of competence and good coping skills, high parental educationSocial/Environmental Protective FactorsMid to high socioeconomic statusAccess to health care, adequate housing, social servicesConsistent parental employmentFamily religious faith participationGood schoolsSupportive adults outside of family who serve as role models/mentors to child
16 Child Abuse/Neglect Prevention: The Cutting Edge Primary: Stop it before it starts, for everyoneSecondary: Stop it before it starts, for families considered “at risk”Tertiary: It happened, but let’s stop it from happening againCommon features of effective prevention programsStrengthen family and community connections/support systemsApproach parents as important contributors to their child’s developmentCreate opportunities for parents to be successful and feel empoweredRespect every family’s integrityProvide settings where families can gather, support and learn from each otherEnhance coordination and integration of supports and servicesEnhance community awareness of the importance of healthy parentingEnsure round the clock support (such as hotlines)Evening and weekend hours, meeting in family’s home (home visitors)Current Best Practice Examples:Nurse Home VisitingThe Front Porch Project