RESPOND TO THREATS AND SITUATION OF DANGERS
CONCEPT: Child abuse and neglect
It Shouldn’t Hurt to Be a Child
Child Abuse and Neglect
• Legal Definitions According to West Virginia law [WV Code 49-1-3], an abused or neglected child is any child whose parent, guardian, or custodian (regardless of age) harms or threatens the child’s health or welfare by: * Knowingly or intentionally inflicting, attempting to inflict or knowingly allowing another person to inflict physical injury or mental or emotional injury. * Sexual abuse or sexual exploitation.
or inability to supply the child with necessary food. * Refusal. * Excessive corporal punishment • Domestic or family violence causing substantial emotional injury which harms or threatens the child’s health or welfare
. supervision. shelter. medical care or education.* The sale or attempted sale of the child.clothing. failure.
education or supervision because of the disappearance or absence of the child’s parent or custodian
. clothing. shelter. medical care. defined as a child without necessary food.* Negligent treatment or maltreatment. * Abandonment.
races.Recognizing Child Abuse and Neglect
Causes of Abuse and Neglect Most people who abuse children are ordinary people who lack coping skills. ethnic heritage. increase the likelihood of abuse or neglect. There are certain known factors which. occupations and educational levels. Abusers come from all socioeconomic classes. when combined. religious faiths.
* Ignorant about principles of child development. * Someone who was abused as a child. * Impulsive and easily frustrated. * A substance abuser (alcohol or other drugs). * Overly dependent on the need to control.
. * Under stress. * Lacking in social skills and parenting skills. such as marital. * Lacking in self-confidence and self-esteem. employment or financial problems.A child abuser is often: * Isolated from the support of family and friends. * Not getting his/her emotional needs met.
* mental/emotional/verbal maltreatment
. * physical neglect. child abuse includes: * physical abuse. including Shaken Baby Syndrome.• Kinds of Abuse and Neglect • Many people think that “child abuse” is limited to physical harm. * sexual abuse. • In reality.
severe neglect and malnutrition are more readily detectable than the subtle. However. less visible injuries which result from emotional maltreatment or sexual abuse. However.• Physical injuries. • Most people who abuse children are known to the child. • The presence of one or more indicators does not mean there is abuse in every instance. demand attention. there are instances where children are abused by strangers. but should alert you to the possibility. Trained professionals will help to determine whether abuse occurred.
. all categories of abuse endanger or impair a child’s physical or emotional health and development and. therefore.
senses are being developed. blood is being made. The child cannot.Words to ponder 1:
• We are guilty of many errors .” — Nobel Prize-winning Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral
. Right now is the time. but our worst crime is abandoning the children.” The child’s name is “Today. To the child we cannot answer “Tomorrow. Many of the things we need can wait. bones are being formed.
mouth. arms.• PHYSICAL ABUSE • Physical Indicators • Questionable bruises and welts: * on face. (In the first stage. the bruise is purplish)
. * in various stages of healing. lips. In the second stage. * on torso. buttocks. back. thighs. the bruise is reddish-blue.
. forming regular patterns.) • * clustered. or vacation. weekend. • * reflecting shape of article used to inflict injury • (electric cord.• In the third stage. • * on several different surface areas. the bruise turns yellowishgreen. • * human bite mark. • * bald spots. belt buckle). • * regularly appearing after absence.
* patterned like electric burner.• Questionable burns: * cigar or cigarette burns. or torso. iron. back or buttocks. * rope burns on arms. palms. neck. cigarette lighter. etc. * singed hair.
. especially on soles. or doughnut shaped on buttocks or genitalia). legs. * immersion burns (sock-like or glove-like.
lips. nose. * to external genitalia. * multiple or spiral fractures. * in various stages of healing.
. gums. • Questionable lacerations or abrasions: * to mouth.• Questionable fractures: * to skull. eyes. facial structure.
. * apprehensive when other children cry. * complains of soreness or moves uncomfortably. * reports injury by parent or caregiver. * wears clothing inappropriate to weather to cover body. * wary of adult contacts. • * reluctance to change or take off clothes • (attempt to hide injuries. * frightened of parents.• • • • • • • • • •
Child Behavioral Indicators * uncomfortable with physical contact. * afraid to go home. * behavioral extremes (aggressiveness or withdrawal).
transgression. • * significantly misperceives child (for example. • * offers illogical. “different”. • * psychotic or psychopathic personality. unconvincing. and condition. beyond child’s age or ability
. sees • child as “bad”. “stupid”.). • * attempts to conceal child’s injury or to protect identity of • person responsible. or offers no explanation. etc. • * uses harsh discipline inappropriate to child’s age.• Caregiver Characteristics • * history of abuse as a child. • * unrealistic expectations of child. or contradictory explanations of child’s injury. • * misuses alcohol or other drugs.
arms. but there is injury done inside the body. This term refers to the violent shaking of a baby or young child by the shoulders. There are not always outward signs that a baby has been shaken.• Shaken Baby Syndrome • Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) can be a fatal form of child abuse. especially to the brain. or legs and the injuries that occur as a result of that violence.
• • • • • • •
Some of the symptoms of SBS include: * respiratory problems * lethargy or drowsiness * irritability * vomiting * decreased appetite These symptoms can occur immediately after a shaking episode or they can occur hours or weeks later.
• * If the shaker is a female. it is more likely to be a baby sitter or other caregiver.• Facts about Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) • * Boys are more frequent victims of SBS than girls. – Boyfriends and fathers make up 67% of all shakers. • * 25 to 50% of Americans do not realize that shaking a baby can cause permanent damage or death. • * Shaking is more likely to be done by a male than a female.
• * Most children are shaken between the ages of 1 month to 4. • * About 70% of the victims are killed and the other 30% normally live with severe.5 • years of age. • What triggers a person to shake a baby? • * Constant crying is the Number One trigger. • * One in four babies die as a result of Shaken Baby Syndrome. • * Feeding problems • * Toilet training issues • * General frustrations
. permanent injuries. which is an average of 8.6 months of age.
Words to ponder 2:
• Children need models more than they need critics. — Elbert Hubbard
A crying baby or child can be very frustrating. but the following tips may help. • * Make sure the child’s needs are met. you can prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome by educating yourself and parents about the dangers of shaking an infant and toddler and steps to take to relieve frustration. • * Swaddle the baby in a nice blanket. • * Check to see if the baby needs to be burped.• Preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) • As an early childhood provider.
or dance with the baby. * Sing or talk to the baby.• • • • • •
* Check to see that clothing is not too tight. * Look for signs of illness. * Take the baby for a ride in the car or in a stroller
. walk. * Run the vacuum cleaner or play a radio. * Rock.
• * lack of supervision.• PHYSICAL NEGLECT • Physical neglect is the failure to provide for a child’s physical survivalneeds to the extent that there is harm or risk of harm to the child’s health or safety.
. • * lack of adequate shelter. • * lack of adequate nutrition. but is not limited to: • * abandonment. • * lack of adequate bathing and good hygiene. • * lack of required school enrollment or attendance. • Physical neglect may include. • * lack of medical or dental care.
• * unattended physical problems or medical needs. • * abandonment
. • * continuous lice or scabies. distended stomach. including vision and hearing difficulties. emaciated. inappropriate dress. especially in dangerous activities of long periods. • * consistent lack of supervision.• Physical Indicators • * consistent hunger. • * required immunizations neglected. poor hygiene.
• * constant fatigue. • * shunned by peers. listlessness. or falling asleep. • * alcohol or drug abuse. • * states there is no caregiver. stealing food.• Child Behavioral Indicators • * begging. • * frequently absent. • * self destructive
* maintains chaotic home. * evidence of apathy or hopelessness. * history of neglect as a child. * mentally ill or diminished intelligence. * leaving child unattended in vehicle.
.• • • • • • • •
Caregiver Characteristics * misuses alcohol or other drugs. * consistent failure to keep appointments.
and sexual exploitation of minors.• SEXUAL ABUSE • Sexual abuse is defined as acts of sexual assault.
. Sexual abuse encompasses a broad range of behavior and may consist of many acts over a long period of time or a single incident. and range in age from less than one year through adolescence. sexual abuse. • Victims are both boys and girls.
• • • • • • • • •
Specifically. sexual abuse includes: incest * rape * intercourse * oral-genital contact * fondling * sexual propositions or enticement * indecent exposure * “peeping” into bathroom or bedroom to spy on child • * child pornography • * child prostitution
• * The child thinks no one will believe him or her.• Reasons why children often do not tell anyone about the sexual abuse: • * The child was threatened or bribed by the abuser to keep quiet.
. • * The child blames him/herself and thinks the abuse is a form of punishment. • * The child was confused by the attention and feelings that • accompany the abuse. • * The child was too young to describe what happened.
discomfort. * encopresis (fecal soiling). * torn. * pain. * frequent urinary or yeast infections.
. vaginal or anal areas. * venereal disease. * massive weight change. bleeding or itching in genital area.• • • •
• • • • •
Physical Indicators * difficulty in walking or sitting. stained or bloody underclothing or diaper. * bruises or bleeding in external genitalia.
. * poor peer relations. * bizarre or unusual sexual behavior or knowledge. * reports sexual abuse. undemanding behavior aimed at maintaining a low profile. * excessive masturbation. * hostility or aggression. * withdrawal. chronic depression or phobias. * detailed and age-inappropriate understanding of sexual behavior.• • • • • • • • • • • • •
Child Behavioral Indicators * unwilling to change or take off clothes. * overly compliant. * unusually seductive behaviors with peers and adults.
* poor self esteem. * excessive bathing or poor hygiene. * role reversal. overly concerned for siblings.
. as well as lags in development.• • • • •
* threatened by physical contact. * regression in developmental milestones. * sleep disturbances. bizarre sexual theme. lack of confidence. * suicide attempt. including severe nightmares. * unexplained money or “gifts”. self devaluation. * drawings with strong.
• * non-abusing caregiver/spouse is frequently absent from the home. • * sexually abused as a child. • * encourages child to engage in prostitution. • * encourages child to engage in sexual acts in presence • of caregiver. • * misuses alcohol or other drugs.• Caregiver Characteristics • * extremely protective or jealous of child.
. permitting access to child by abusing caregiver/spouse.
Words to ponder 3. — Leo Tolstoy
• When will justice come? When those who are not injured become as indignant as those who are.
and intellectually. threatening.• MENTAL/EMOTIONAL MALTREATMENT • Just as physical injuries can scar and incapacitate a child. intimidating. sarcasm. • * ignoring and indifference.ridiculing. blaming. rejecting. • Emotional maltreatment can include patterns of: • * verbal assaults. Varying degrees of emotional and behavioral problems are common among children who have been emotionally abused.
. • * constant family conflict. behaviorally. including screaming. emotional maltreatment can similarly cripple a child emotionally.
• A combination or pattern of indicators should alert you to the possibility of emotional maltreatment. and you may become aware of indicators that relate to the parent or caregiver.
. the child will begin to live up to the image communicated by the abusing parent or caregiver. A cause and effect relationship between the parent or caregiver’s acts and the child’s response must be established.• degraded enough. • Cases of emotional abuse are extremely difficult to prove. These cases should be referred for evaluation and treatment as soon as possible. You may notice physical and behavioral indicators by observing the child.
• • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Physical Indicators * speech disorders. * lags in physical development. * failure to thrive. Child Behavioral Indicators * conduct disorders (antisocial, destructive). * neurotic traits (sleep disorders, inhibition of play). * behavior extremes: compliant, passive, undemanding, aggressive, demanding, rageful. * overly adaptive behavior: “Parents” other children inappropriately. * inappropriately infantile or emotionally needy. * developmental lags (emotional or intellectual). * self-destructive, attempted suicide.
Words to ponder 4.
• Words hit as hard as a fist. — Prevent Child Abuse America
• • • • • • •
Caregiver Characteristics * blames or belittles child. * ignores or rejects. * withholds love. * treats siblings unequally. * seems unconcerned about child’s problems. * unreasonable demands or impossible expectations without regard to child’s developmental capacity.
• The abusive or neglectful parent may: • * Appear disinterested in the child’s problems.• Parental Attitudes as Indicators • A good deal of important information can be gathered from routine conversation with parents and children. discuss methods of discipline. Conversations with parents can also reveal how they feel about their child.
. and even request help with a problem in talking to teachers or home visitors. • * Fail to keep appointments or return calls. Parents and children will often reveal details of family life.
” “bad.” etc. * Refuse to discuss the child’s problems. * Refer to the child as “different. * Appear to perceive of him/herself as worthless or unable • to cope with the child.
. * Show a lack of maturity.” “stupid.• • • • • • •
* Become excessively angry at the child’s performance. * Seem overly protective or unwilling to “share” the child with anyone else.
They learn to avoid punishment. • Unlike discipline. corrective behavior. • The intent of the reporting law is not to interfere with appropriate discipline but to respond to extreme or inappropriate parental or caregiver actions. abuse is not a learning process. abused children do not learn correct behavior. Actions which are excessive or forceful enough to leave injuries are considered abusive.• A Fine Line Between Abuse and Discipline • Discipline is a learning process designed to teach appropriate behaviors. It does not teach alternative. It is designed to stop behavior through inflicting pain. Therefore.
Protected body parts and soft tissue areas. thighs. They include the knees. buttocks.• Distinguishing Abuse From Accident • When observing an injury you suspect might be the result of abuse. genital area. elbows. Certain locations on the body are more likely to sustain accidental injury. shins and forehead. or face are less likely to come into contact accidently with objects which could cause injury. consider: • * Location of the injury. such as the back. back of the legs.
The greater the number of injuries. • * Size and shape of the injury. Unless the child is involved in a serious accident. Accidental marks resulting from bumps and falls usually have no defined shape
. Many nonaccidental injuries are inflicted with familiar objects: a stick. Resulting marks bear strong resemblance to the object used. a belt. Also. a hair brush. a board. the greater the cause for concern.• * Number and frequency of injuries. a number of different injuries is unlikely. multiple injuries in different stages of healing may indicate abuse over time.
A toddler trying to run is likely to suffer bruised knees and a bump on the head. there should be a reasonable explanation of how it happened that is consistent with the appearance of the injury. • * Consistency of injury with the child’s developmental capability. their ability to engage in activities which can cause injury increases. but less likely to suffer a broken arm than is an eightyear-old who has discovered the joy of climbing trees. When the description of how the injury occurred and the injury are inconsistent.
.• Description of how the injury occurred. there is cause for concern. • If an injury is accidental. • As children grow and gain new skills.
Nevertheless. there is cause for concern when injuries recur and/or the explanation is inconsistent with the injury or the child’s developmental disabilities
. Parents are not perfect. Injuries do occur that might have been avoided.• Remember that accidents do happen.
. being left alone or to care for younger siblings is never acceptable for extended periods of time. For children six years and under. • Some very mature 10-year-olds may be ready to take care of themselves.• Latchkey Children • law does not set a specific age at which a child can legally stay alone. age alone is not a very good indicator of a child’s maturity level. In fact. while some 15-year-olds may not be ready due to emotional problems or behavioral difficulties.
.• Parent is providing adequate supervision in latchkey situations. • Child Protective Services (CPS) will assess several areas including : • * child’s level of maturity. • * child’s mental capability of recognizing and avoiding danger and making sound decisions. CPS will want to assess whether the child is physically capable of taking care of her/himself.
to call if an • emergency arises.• * child’s emotional readiness to be alone. emotional. or behavioral problems that make it unwise to be left alone
. • * child’s knowledge of what to do and whom . • * child has no physical.
• It is important to note that a child who can care for him/herself may not be ready to care for younger children. and whether the child knows the parents’ location and how to reach them. • Note these factors: • * Accessibility of those responsible for the child. • * The situation. and whether there is a family history of child abuse and neglect
. whether they can be reached by phone and can get home quickly if needed. CPS will want to assess: the time of day and length of time the child is left alone. • CPS will want to determine the location and proximity of the parents. the safety of the home or neighborhood. whether the parents have arranged for nearby adults to be available in case a problem arises.
— John Dryden
• Home is the sacred refuge of our life.Words to ponder 5.
. Child Protective Services cannot act until a report is made. you play a critical role in preventing any future harm to children.Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect
• The purpose of required reporting is to identify suspected abused and neglected children as soon as possible so that they may be protected from further harm. Consequently. as early childhood providers.
• These persons include: • * medical. certain persons are required to report. dental or mental health professionals • * Christian Science practitioners • * religious healers • * school teachers and other school personnel • * social service workers
.• Who Must Report? • Anyone may report suspected abuse or neglect.
family court judges. or magistrates • * humane officers
.• • • • •
* child care or foster care workers * emergency medical services personnel * peace officers or law enforcement officials * members of the clergy * circuit court judges.
and not more than 48 hours later. or to cause a report to be made immediately.• Am I Protected if I Report? • law provides immunity from civil or criminal liability for persons reporting abuse in good faith • When Should I Report? • Any time you suspect that a child is being abused or neglected or observe a child being subjected to conditions likely to result in abuse or neglect.
. you are required by law to report your concerns to the local Child Protective Services (CPS).
• You need not prove that abuse or neglect has taken place. Your responsibility is to alert them to your suspicions
. personnel from local CPS are responsible for making this determination.
Will you be able to live with yourself if you know you didn’t do everything possible to protect a child from harm?
. any mandated reporter of suspected abuse or neglect who knowingly fails to report shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. Besides the legal consequences of failing to report.• What If I Don’t Report? Under the law. consider the emotional consequences.
Words to ponder 6.
• Praise the children and they will blossom. — Irish proverb
and race. if known. you should report your concerns to the Child Protective Services (CPS) division. it is helpful to provide as much information as possible. • * the child’s birthdate or age. • When making a report. sex. Information you may be able to provide includes: • * the name. address.• How Do I Report? • When you suspect that a child is being abused or neglected.
. and telephone number of the child and parents or other person(s) responsible for the child’s care.
. • * the nature and extent of the abuse/neglect. and telephone number of the suspected • abuser and his/her relationship to the child.• * the names and ages of other persons who live with the child and their relationship to the child. • * the name. including any knowledge of prior maltreatment of the child or siblings. • * whether or not there is a family member who can protect the child.
• * whether the child is fearful about going home. • * any other pertinent information. • * your name. • * information about the child’s current condition and functioning. address and phone number.
.• * information about the disciplinary practices of the parents and how the family functions.
you are required to report suspected cases of child abuse and neglect to the local Child Protective Services (CPS) or the Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline and to area law enforcement. unless you know without question that a formal report has been made to CPS. when required.. and to law enforcement.
.• What If Policy Requires Me to Report to my Supervisor? • The law is clear. or cause a report to be made • Simply reporting it to your supervisor or director is not enough. As an early childhood provider.
• Should I Inform the Parents of the Report? • As early childhood providers you have a relationship with the child and or parents. • Filing a report of suspected child abuse or neglect can be described as “making a referral to request help and services for the child and family.”
• Once the family reveals Child Protective Services involvement. • Try to be objective and supportive of the family. Be professional and do not make judgments about the family or play the “blame game”. that they are not inherently “bad” parents. The intent of a report is to protect the child from further harm and to improve family relationships.• Parents need to know that their problems are not unique.
. let the parents know that you want to continue your relationship with the family and that you believe that this is a problem which can be solved. and that there is help available.
You are not the investigator.• Only talk to the parents about the activities with which you are involved. The family is most likely experiencing a great amount of stress
. encourage the family to make use of community resources. When appropriate.
— Lady Bird Johnson
• Our children are likely to live up to what we believe of them.Words to ponder 7.
this is enough for you to make a report.• What if I’m Not Sure? • You may consult with your local Child Protective Services or with staff at the Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline. • If a child has shared information with you about abuse or neglect.
. It is better to make your concerns known than to remain silent and possibly allow a child to remain unprotected.
The Child Protective Services worker will evaluate the situation to determine whether an investigation is warranted at the time of your report.
.• What if the Abuse Occurred in the Past? • Any case of suspected child abuse or neglect where the victim is under 18 must be reported even if the abuse or neglect occurred in the past.
• What if a Report Isn’t Accepted by Child Protective Services? • Not all reports of suspected child abuse or neglect are accepted for investigation by Child Protective Services (CPS). When CPS decides not to investigate a report, it is usually because the report does not meet the legal definition of abuse/neglect; law enforcement has the responsibility to investigate; or the family’s problems can be more effectively addressed by a different type of service. • CPS will notify any mandated reporter of whether an investigation has been initiated and when the investigation is completed.
• Issues and Concerns About Reporting • A report of suspected maltreatment is not an accusation. It is a request for the helping process to begin. The reporting process, however, may not always go smoothly. Difficulties may be encountered which can act as a barrier to reporting or can discourage continued involvement in situations of child abuse and neglect. • Some of these difficulties are discussed below.
• Previous Bad Experiences Professionals who have had an unsatisfactory experience when reporting suspected child abuse or neglect may be reluctant to report again. These professionals may have been discouraged from reporting, or may have developed a distrust of Child Protective Services (CPS), feeling that a previous case was not handled to their satisfaction. These concerns are real. Things may not have gone as well as they could have
• The Belief That Nothing Will Be Done • Sometimes potential reporters are convinced that nothing will be done if they report. so they don’t report. At the very least. Aside from the legal considerations such reasoning is faulty. some action will occur. nothing will be done.
. and the key to identification is reporting. If an incident of suspected child abuse or neglect is reported. if the incident is not reported. Abused and neglected children cannot be protected unless they are first identified. • On the other hand. a record of the report will be made and your legal obligation will be fulfilled.
and legal counsel may exercise their right to see all personal information.• Confidentiality • Identity of Reporters • The identity of all persons who report suspected child abuse or neglect is confidential. the reporter is protected from suit by the immunity clause if the report was made in good faith • Parental Rights to Access Child Abuse or Neglect Records • Parents. however. However. families may be able to deduce the identity of the reporter. despite the Child Protective Services worker’s efforts to maintain confidentiality. contained in the Child Protective Services case
. relating to him/herself. the child(ren). in some instances.
Words to ponder 8.
• Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful. indeed. it’s the only thing that ever has. • — Margaret Mead
. committed citizens can change the world.
. about abuse or neglect.Responding to the Child Victim
• How to Respond to the Child Who Reports Being Abused or Neglected • When a child tells you. as well as the trust the child has shown you by choosing you as a confidante. openly or indirectly. it is important to recognize the strength which this child has demonstrated by sharing the secret.
The child needs warmth and acceptance. Don’t push him/her to share more than he/she is willing. It isn’t necessary at this time that intimate details be revealed.general guidelines : • * Listen to what is being told to you.
Keep your own feelings under control. Be careful not to criticize or belittle the child’s family or to be hysterical. Acknowledge the difficulty of the decision and the personal strength shown in making this decision. • * Reassure the child that he/she has done the right thing by telling you.• Do not ask direct questions of the child—this might compromise the investigation.
. • * Be calm. Be calm and non-judgmental. Make it clear that the abuse or neglect is not the child’s fault and that the child is not bad or to blame.
placement and social worker decisions.• * Use the child’s own vocabulary. particularly relating to secrecy. * Do not promise not to tell. do not discuss what the child told you with anyone who is not directly involved in helping the child. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. court involvement. Know your limits.
. This is not a situation you can handle by yourself. • Tell the truth. However.
• * Respect privacy. • * Assess the child’s immediate safety.• * Be specific. support and guidance. Reassure the child that telling about the abuse or neglect was the right thing to do.
. The child needs your help. Let the child know exactly what is going to happen within the limits of her/his ability to understand. It is the only way to make it stop. Remember why the child came to you. Tell only those who need to know what the child has disclosed to you. Is the child in immediate physical danger? Is it a crisis? Are there others in the home who can protect the child? • * Be supportive.
the child may be feeling scared. disgust. anger and sometimes disbelief. • Try to help the child regain control
. angry and powerless. guilty.• When a child tells you that he or she has been abused. • You may feel a sense of outrage. sadness. ashamed. It is important for you to remain calm and in control of your feelings in order to reassure the child.
. Structure and routine can help children regain a sense of personal control.Techniques for Interaction with the Abused or Neglected Child
• The following are tools or techniques that can be used by early childhood providers with children who report abuse or neglect: • * Never underestimate the power that a positive adult relationship can have in a child’s life. Children take their cues fro adults. • * Make the child’s surroundings as safe as they can be.
• Suggested statements: • “What he/she did to you was wrong — • I am sorry that it happened to you.”
.” • “It was unfair of him/her to do that to you. The abuser is often known and liked or loved by the child. • I am sorry that it happened. again allowing a child to regain control.• * Ask permission before touching. • * Don’t speak badly of the abuser.
” “I’m sorry that happened to you. Remain open for more information. angry or upset at what a child may say or do.• * Try not to act shocked. We need to tell someone so that (abuser’s name) can get help to stop doing that to you.”
. • Suggested statements: “I’m wondering where you learned that.” “I’m wondering who taught you how to do that.
• * Use your colleagues as resource people and for support. keeping in mind the child’s right to privacy.
. but with an extra dose of compassion.• Do not make a child feel different or singled out. Treat the child just like every other child.
the report is screened out.Child Protective Services’ Response
• What Happens After I Make a Report? • When a report of suspected child abuse or neglect is made. If not. If so. the report is assigned.
. Child Protective Services (CPS) staff must determine whether the situation described meets the legal definition of child abuse or neglect and whether CPS has the authority and responsibility to investigate.
• Treatment CPS workers work with families whose cases are opened for further services and cases which go to court
. (2) there is risk of • maltreatment. • Initial Assessment CPS workers receive and investigate reports of abuse and neglect and make a finding as to whether (1) maltreatment occurred. and (3) the child is safe.• CPS has two categories of workers: initial assessment and treatment.
siblings (if necessary). a face-to-face interview with the child and the development of a protection plan must be made within 72 hours. The worker may come to the provider to interview or observe the child. and any other people having information about the incident.
.• The Investigation • law requires that in a report of imminent danger. It’s important to note that CPS workers do NOT need the parents’ consent to see the child. In all other reports. • The CPS worker will interview the child. the alleged abuser. the parents or caregivers. a face-to-face interview with the child and the development of a protection plan must occur within 14 days.
within 30 days. make a finding about: • (1) whether or not maltreatment occurred. and • (3) whether the child is safe.• Through interviews. observation. • Right to Appeal Investigation Findings Clients have the right to file a grievance
. the CPS worker will. and information gathering. • (2) the degree of risk of maltreatment.
• All humanity is one undivided and indivisible family. and each one of us is responsible for the misdeeds of all the others. — Gandhi
.Words to ponder 9.
• These services may includes: • Individual and/or family counseling. these are not the only objectives. • family supervision.• Services Provided to the Family • While the immediate objectives of an investigation are to gather the facts and protect the child from immediate harm.
. Services are provided to the family by the CPS worker and/or community agencies. • Parenting groups or classes. • respite day care. The CPS worker is also responsible for helping the parents identify and solve the problems that may have caused maltreatment. • homemaker services.
Ultimately. a petition may be filed in circuit court by Child Protective Services or by any responsible adult • The court is a place where the rights of the child and the parents are protected. the court will decide what is in the best interests of the child.When Cases Go to Court
• Civil Court Action and Testimony by Early Childhood Providers • Most cases of child abuse or neglect do not require court involvement.
. where there is evidence of abuse or neglect and the family does not do what is necessary to ensure the child’s safety. However. • Most families will accept help in correcting the circumstances which caused the maltreatment.
submitting written reports decreases the likelihood of having to testify. what you observed and possibly your conversations with the child and parents.• Early childhood providers may be requested to provide written reports or testimony to assist the court in making a decision.
. you will be asked questions related to your credentials. In those rare instances where providers are called to testify. In some cases.
• Legal Procedures • The purpose of the child welfare laws is to assure the spiritual. CPS will try to prevent the removal of the child if the child’s safety in the home can be assured and if there are no aggravated circumstances* surrounding the maltreatment of the child under investigation. then CPS will remove the child and petition the court for the termination of parental rights. or another child in the household. where possible. If there are aggravated circumstances. another child of the abusing parent. emotional. mental and physical well-being of the child and to preserve and strengthen the child’s family ties. • Child Protective Services (CPS) is required to address the safety.
. permanency and well-being of children who are abused and/or neglected. the goal is to assure the child a safe and permanent home. In all cases.
In addition. Removal can lead to feelings of insecurity as the child wonders if the family will ever be reunited. when a child is removed.• Removal and placement outside the home is traumatic for the child. the child must adjust to a new family—and possibly even a new community. The child often feels abandoned by the family and can even feel responsible for the problems in the home that led to removal.
* Emphasize conflict resolution and recognizing feelings. * Teach creative problem solving and decision making. * Avoid displaying pity or giving a maltreated child more attention. * Provide individual rights education. * Encourage children to be responsible for their own things. approachable listener. * Be a patient.The Impact of Early Childhood Providers
• Staff can develop nurturing relationships with all children: * Be a positive role model for the children in your care. * Work on improving a child’s self-esteem.
. Do not be critical of a child.
• * Understanding and including the needs of all family members when deciding which services are needed. and socioeconomic diversity. • * Recognizing the family is the constant in a child’s life.• You can also develop nurturing relationships with parents of young children by: • * Emphasizing your concern for their child. • * Honoring the family’s racial. cultural. • * Providing complete and unbiased information. ethnic.
. • * Encouraging them as a partner in the services they are receiving. • * Recognizing their strengths as individuals and as a family unit and that families handle things in different ways.
..“Sticks and stones can break my bones.” -No corporaL punishment
Quality early childhood programs strive to educate families on positive discipline techniques.• Corporal Punishment • How familiar are you with your program’s policy regarding corporal punishment? Is it okay to spank a child if the child’s parent approves? Is it okay to encourage parents 'use of spanking? • Licensing specifically prohibits any early care provider from administering corporal punishment. Teaching other strategies of discipline by modeling and offering suggestions can lead to a decrease in spanking as the only discipline method.
. Spanking can be a difficult issue to address because of people’s general acceptance of its use.
• Like it or not.• Verbal Abuse We all know that words can hurt. humiliate or shame a child.”
. this happens to most of us at one time or another. I’m sorry. and when it does. Few early childhood providers would intentionally belittle. But what happens when you’re angry and frustrated? Have you ever said something you regret? Picture this: You’ve just blown your top and said something hurtful to a child. and we must deal with that. but you don’t deserve to be spoken to like that. the important question is: What do you do next? Do you pretend it didn’t happen because it would be a sign of weakness to apologize? Or do you stop and use this as a teachable moment? It is okay to tell a child “Your behavior was unacceptable.
but words can never hurt me..no verbal abuse
What kind of adults do you want the children in your care to grow up to be? When developing a discipline plan. Which do you employ with the children in your care? Which do you encourage with the families you visit? • Most early childhood providers would agree that their goal is to help children learn to be selfdisciplined.• Discipline or punishment? • It has been said that the purpose of punishment is to hurt. think about the difference between discipline and punishment and consider these questions:
. but the purpose of discipline is to teach.
• * Do you want the children to be focused on external or • internal rewards? • * Do you want the children to be operating from fear • or from confidence? • * Do you want the children to believe that “might makes right”? • * Do you want the children to believe that adults are always right simply because they are adults?
Home visitors ensure families have knowledge of positive techniques to teach young children appropriate behavior.• Child Abuse Prevention • Caring early childhood providers train themselves to notice signs of abuse and neglect. Early childhood providers can take a proactive stance and work to prevent and eliminate the cycle of abuse through supporting the provision of programs for children. In addition.
. parents and the community. and follow the law in reporting these signs to the proper authorities. • But they can do more. they take steps to make sure that their own settings are safe places where children are not mistreated.
• Services for parents • Many parents are isolated from family and friends and have few places to turn for help. • Early childhood settings can be an environment where parents feel comfortable talking and learning about topics that can make a daily difference in their interactions with children: • * stress management strategies • * discipline techniques • * stages of child development • Concerned parents and providers can join together to: • * organize support groups • * bring in speakers • * distribute information
. Early childhood settings can be a source of information for these parents.
. and to whom they should go for help. it is a good idea to inform parents of your intent and involve them in teaching children basic safety information. • There are many books and videos that providers can use with their children. When making use of these materials. teaching about the difference between safe and unsafe touch.• Prevention Programs for Children • Early childhood providers can help children learn about child abuse. how they can protect themselves.
“Everyone makes mistakes.”
.” “You’re such a good line leader.” instead of “Pay attention!” * Give children permission to make mistakes. That’s good.• • • • • • • • • • • •
Creating a Positive Climate Here are some ways to nurture positive feelings among the children you serve: * Face to face greetings help children feel special. “Hi. Lucas.” or “Purple looks good on you. Grace. new haircut I see. “What a beautiful picture. Tommy. “I need all eyes on me and all mouths closed.” * Use “I” messages to be specific about the behaviors you desire.” * Be specific in praise of each child and mention it frequently.” or • “You are really good at cleaning up. Paul. Now stay with me while I read a story. That’s how we learn.
Put it on a bulletin board. wall • or refrigerator. • * Create an environment of high expectations and genuine concern. • “Look how nicely Stephen and Angie are building blocks together.” • * Display children’s work. • “How are today?” “Are you OK?” and “I knew you could do it!”
. • Put the child’s first name on art work. These elicit the child’s interest and pride.• Give children positive attention by using their names.
” — Russian Proverb
• “The family is the one safe island in an unknown sea.Words to ponder 9.
Every small effort can bring big rewards and will make a difference in the quality of life in your community. You can help to strengthen families who are responsible for the well-being of their children. • You can also: • * Get involved.• What Can Be Done to Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect? • Child abuse and neglect is a community problem and should be everyone’s concern. Prevention is a community responsibility.
. • .
If you feel overwhelmed. Help a friend.
. • * Develop good communication with the children in your life. Recognize the signs that indicate outside help is needed. neighbor or relative who may be struggling with their parenting responsibilities. • * Lend an encouraging word to a child. angry and out of control. • * Be a positive role model for your children and for other • parents. • * Help yourself. constantly sad.• * Reach out to parents who are under stress. • * Support local abuse prevention efforts • * Educate your legislators and policymakers on issues affecting children. get some help.
• * Become a CASA volunteer.
. • * Teach non-violent methods of conflict resolution.• * Do something today to help a child you may not know. • * Speak up for non-violent television programming. • * Advocate for comprehensive services to help families and laws which protect children and promote healthy families. • * Volunteer your time for a community agency. • * Increase public awareness about the problem of child abuse. • * Report suspected abuse to appropriate local authorities.
Words to ponder 10.
• Do not follow where the path may lead. • — Anonymous
. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
• Ten Reasons to Prevent Child Abuse • Child abuse can be fatal. • Child abuse victims often repeat violent acts that they experienced on their own children. • Child abuse stymies a child’s normal growth and development.
. • Child abuse is costly for many social institutions. • Child abuse costs continue to multiply over time.
• Prevention programs targeted at children can improve a child’s awareness of how best to avoid child abuse and other unsafe practices. are often ineffective in permanently altering parental behaviors. • Prevention programs targeted at parents before they become abusive or neglectful reduce the likelihood for future maltreatment. while critical. one
. • Child abuse prevention creates a more compassionate society.• Treatment services. • Child abuse prevention efforts serve as a way to combat other social problems of concern to the public and to policy makers.
or whether they’re intimidated and afraid? If you think there’s a problem. are there other consequences you might use? • * The teacher across the hall is recognized as having the quietest. How much do you know about how parents will react to a bad report? If you have misgivings about whether or how severely a parent might punish a child. Have you considered whether the children in the class feel free to be themselves. most well-behaved class in the center.• More Issues to Think About • * You have decided that your discipline plan will include notifying parents on a regular basis of how their child has behaved. what can you do to help change the situation?
Brittany spends every other weekend with her father. Brittany screams and cries and refuses to go. Some identifying features and names have been changed to protect the families’ privacy. and he usually picks Brittany up on Friday afternoon. The staff called CPS and law enforcement and made a referral. Brittany becomes hysterical and says her daddy’s step-dad did bad things to her. Brittany’s mother and father were unaware of the abuse that had taken place. Her father continues to have visitation every other weekend. While teachers are trying to find the parents. Brittany remains in the home with her mother and receives counseling.) BRITTANY Brittany is a shy but friendly three-year old. He was found guilty.
. it was found that Brittany had been sexually abused by the step-grandfather.• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Case Histories (The following stories represent real-life situations in our community. After an investigation. One Friday. She spends her days at the Sunshine Day Care while her mother works two jobs. but they are unsuccessful. a paternal aunt comes to pick up Brittany. Staff members attempt to contact the parents.
Tyler’s father was court-ordered out of the home because of the violence. Tyler’s behavior begins to change over a 4-week period. but it is obvious that she has been crying. When confronted about his aggressive behavior. Tyler’s mother smiles and says she ran into a door.
. Tyler’s mother picks him up one afternoon. The family child care provider notices Tyler hitting other children. Tyler cries. Tyler’s mother sought services and support from domestic violence advocates and is now divorced from her husband. He currently has no visitation with his son because he has been unwilling to seek treatment for anger management. and she has a black eye. concerned about the impact of the domestic violence on Tyler. The family provider makes a referral to CPS.• • • • • • • • • • •
TYLER Tyler is a friendly four-year old who is shy but very active and plays well with other children. After an investigation.
the mother confided in her home visitor that the father had been abusive and out of control the evening before. The father accepted responsibility for his actions and received services to improve his interactions with his daughter and his girlfriend.
. she considered adoption for the baby several times due to feeling overwhelmed about meeting the needs of a baby. Stephanie remained in the home with her mother and father. which were a result of the abuse he had suffered as a child. She accepted the help of a home visitor to assist and support her in her new role as a mother. The father also had problems controlling his anger and sometimes was abusive to Stephanie’s mother. when Stephanie was six months old. CPS opened a case on the family. The father was willing to seek help for his substance abuse problem and received counseling to deal with his issues of anger control. She and the father of the baby continued to have a relationship and both battled with substance abuse problems.• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
STEPHANIE Stephanie’s mother was homeless when she found out she was pregnant. During the pregnancy. During one home visit. Stephanie’s mother has also received counseling and is meeting the needs of her daughter. The home visitor made a CPS referral after discussing it with her supervisor.