Tag Archives: Child Abuse

Georgia State University: Child sexual abuse in US costs up to $1.5 million per child death, study finds

30 Mar

Most people do not want people, especially children, abused. One means of early intervention is mandatory reporting of suspected abuse by certain groups like teachers or medical personnel. Accessing Safety lists the pros and cons of mandatory reporting:

Pros
Supporters of mandatory reporting believe that mandatory reporting can enhance victim/survivor safety by:
• linking people with services that will provide information and referrals to improve their living situations,
• getting victim/survivors away from abusers and perpetrators;
• reporting violence, abuse, and sexual assault to increase the number of cases reaching authorities and being documented, thereby increasing an understanding of the prevalence of such violence and its incidence; and
• offering an opportunity to provide training on issues of violence to professionals and persons who are mandatory reporters.
Cons
Some feel that mandatory reporting may create more harm than good. They believe that risks and consequences of mandatory reporting can include:
• retaliation by abuser/perpetrator/stalker,
• broken trust and confidentiality,
• damage to an individuals’ right to self-determination, an issue that is of particular concern when working with people with disabilities, and
• damaging the relationship between the victim/survivor and service provider, and, ultimately, leading to victims/survivors not seeking help or not returning to services…. http://www.accessingsafety.org/index.php?page=137

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in Ohio v. Clark (No.13-1352). See, Ohio v. Clark. Supreme Court Summary and Analysis by Sandra Tibbetts Murphy, July 2015 http://www.bwjp.org/assets/documents/pdfs/ohio-v-clark-supreme-court-summary.pdf and https://drwilda.com/tag/child-abuse/

Science Daily reported in Child sexual abuse in US costs up to $1.5 million per child death, study finds:

Child sexual abuse in the United States is costly, with an average lifetime cost of $1.1 million per death of female victims and $1.5 million per death of male victims, according to a new study.
Researchers measured the economic costs of child sexual abuse by calculating health care costs, productivity losses, child welfare costs, violence/crime costs, special education costs and suicide death costs.
They estimated the total lifetime economic burden of child sexual abuse in the United States to be $9.3 billion, based on child sexual abuse data from 2015. For nonfatal cases of child sexual abuse, the estimated lifetime cost is $282,734 per female victim. There was insufficient information on productivity losses for male victims, which contributed to a lower estimated lifetime cost of $74,691. The findings are published in the journal Child Abuse & Neglect….
The World Health Organization defines child sexual abuse as the involvement of a child in sexual activity that he or she does not fully comprehend, is unable to give informed consent to, is not developmentally prepared or violates the laws and social taboos of society. It is the activity between a child — anyone under the age of 18 in most states — and an adult or another child who by age or development is in a position of responsibility, trust or power.
Child sexual abuse includes commercial sexual exploitation and the use of children in pornographic performance and materials. The estimated prevalence rates of exposure to child sexual abuse by 18 years old are 26.6 percent for U.S. girls and 5.1 percent for U.S. boys. International rates of exposure are often higher in low- and middle-income countries. The effects of child sexual abuse include increased risk for development of severe mental, physical and behavioral health disorders; sexually transmitted diseases; self-inflicted injury, substance abuse and violence; and subsequent victimization and criminal offending.
The researchers examined data from 20 new cases of fatal child sexual abuse and 40,387 new cases of nonfatal child sexual abuse that occurred in 2015. The data were obtained from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System of the Children’s Bureau and child maltreatment reports issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/03/180329190842.htm

Citation:

Child sexual abuse in US costs up to $1.5 million per child death, study finds
Date: March 29, 2018
Source: Georgia State University
Summary:
Child sexual abuse in the United States is costly, with an average lifetime cost of $1.1 million per death of female victims and $1.5 million per death of male victims, according to a new study.

Journal Reference:
1. Elizabeth J. Letourneau, Derek S. Brown, Xiangming Fang, Ahmed Hassan, James A. Mercy. The economic burden of child sexual abuse in the United States. Child Abuse & Neglect, 2018; 79: 413 DOI: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2018.02.020

Here is the press release from Georgia State University:

Child Sexual Abuse in U.S. Costs Up to $1.5 Million Per Child Death
March 28, 2018
Media Contact
LaTina Emerson
Public Relations Coordinator
Georgia State University
404-413-1353
lemerson1@gsu.edu
ATLANTA—Child sexual abuse in the United States is costly, with an average lifetime cost of $1.1 million per death of female victims and $1.5 million per death of male victims, according to a new study.
Researchers measured the economic costs of child sexual abuse by calculating health care costs, productivity losses, child welfare costs, violence/crime costs, special education costs and suicide death costs.
They estimated the total lifetime economic burden of child sexual abuse in the United States to be $9.3 billion, based on child sexual abuse data from 2015. For nonfatal cases of child sexual abuse, the estimated lifetime cost is $282,734 per female victim. There was insufficient information on productivity losses for male victims, which contributed to a lower estimated lifetime cost of $74,691. The findings are published in the journal Child Abuse & Neglect.
“This study reveals that the economic burden of child sexual abuse is substantial and signifies recognition that reducing children’s vulnerability will positively and directly impact the nation’s economic and social well-being and development,” said Dr. Xiangming Fang, associate professor of health management and policy in the School of Public Health at Georgia State University. “We hope our research will bring attention to the need for increased prevention efforts for child sexual abuse.”
The World Health Organization defines child sexual abuse as the involvement of a child in sexual activity that he or she does not fully comprehend, is unable to give informed consent to, is not developmentally prepared or violates the laws and social taboos of society. It is the activity between a child – anyone under the age of 18 in most states – and an adult or another child who by age or development is in a position of responsibility, trust or power.
Child sexual abuse includes commercial sexual exploitation and the use of children in pornographic performance and materials. The estimated prevalence rates of exposure to child sexual abuse by 18 years old are 26.6 percent for U.S. girls and 5.1 percent for U.S. boys. International rates of exposure are often higher in low- and middle-income countries. The effects of child sexual abuse include increased risk for development of severe mental, physical and behavioral health disorders; sexually transmitted diseases; self-inflicted injury, substance abuse and violence; and subsequent victimization and criminal offending.
The researchers examined data from 20 new cases of fatal child sexual abuse and 40,387 new cases of nonfatal child sexual abuse that occurred in 2015. The data were obtained from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System of the Children’s Bureau and child maltreatment reports issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Co-authors of the study include Elizabeth J. Letourneau of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Derek S. Brown of Washington University in St. Louis, Ahmed Hassan of the University of Toronto and James A. Mercy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The study is funded by the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
To read the study, visit https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S014521341830084X.
Featured Researcher
Dr. Xiangming Fang
Associate Professor
School of Public Health
Dr. Xiangming Fang is associate professor of Health Management & Policy in the School of Public Health at Georgia State University.
His primary research interests include economic evaluation of health interventions, public policy analysis, violence prevention and food safety.

Child Information Welfare Gateway has an excellent guide for how to spot child abuse and neglect The full list of symptoms is at the site, but some key indicators are:

The Child:
Shows sudden changes in behavior or school performance
Has not received help for physical or medical problems brought to the parents’ attention
Has learning problems (or difficulty concentrating) that cannot be attributed to specific physical or psychological causes
Is always watchful, as though preparing for something bad to happen
Lacks adult supervision
Is overly compliant, passive, or withdrawn
Comes to school or other activities early, stays late, and does not want to go home
The Parent:
Shows little concern for the child
Denies the existence of—or blames the child for—the child’s problems in school or at home
Asks teachers or other caregivers to use harsh physical discipline if the child misbehaves
Sees the child as entirely bad, worthless, or burdensome
Demands a level of physical or academic performance the child cannot achieve
Looks primarily to the child for care, attention, and satisfaction of emotional needs
The Parent and Child:
Rarely touch or look at each other
Consider their relationship entirely negative
State that they do not like each other
https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/whatiscan.pdf#page=5&view=Recognizing%20Signs%20of%20Abuse%20and%20Neglect

If people suspect a child is being abused, they must get involved. Every Child Matters is very useful and can be found at http://www.everychildmatters.org/ and another organization, which fights child abuse is the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform http://nccpr.info/ People must push for tougher standards against child abuse.

Our goal as a society should be:

A healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy social in a healthy neighborhood (c)

Resources:

Chronic Child Neglect
https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/chronic-neglect/

Chronic Neglect Can Lead to Aggression in Kids
https://psychcentral.com/news/2015/04/22/chronic-neglect-can-lead-to-aggression-in-kids/83788.html

Child Neglect
https://www.psychologytoday.com/conditions/child-neglect

Neglect
https://developingchild.harvard.edu/science/deep-dives/neglect/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

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University of Buffalo study: Social workers lack tools to identify potential chronic child neglect, study suggests

17 Dec

Psychology Today defined child neglect:

Definition
Child neglect is defined as a type of maltreatment related to the failure to provide needed, age-appropriate care. Unlike physical and sexual abuse, neglect is usually typified by an ongoing pattern of inadequate care and is readily observed by individuals in close contact with the child. Once children are in school, personnel often notice indicators of child neglect such as poor hygiene, poor weight gain, inadequate medical care, or frequent absences from school. Professionals have defined four types of neglect: physical, emotional, educational, and medical.
More children suffer from neglect in the United States than from physical and sexual abuse combined. The US Department of Health and Human Services found that in 2007 there were 794,000 victims of child maltreatment in the US, of those victims 59% were victims of neglect. Some researchers have proposed 5 different types of neglect: physical neglect, emotional neglect, medical neglect, mental health neglect, and educational neglect. States may code any maltreatment type that does not fall into one of the main categories—physical abuse, neglect, medical neglect, sexual abuse, and psychological or emotional maltreatment—as “other.”
In spite of this, neglect has received significantly less attention than physical and sexual abuse by practitioners, researchers, and the media. One explanation may be that neglect is so difficult to identify. Neglect often is an act of omission. But neglecting children’s needs can be just as injurious as striking out at them.
Additional Information
For 2003, 47.3 percent of child victims were boys, and 50.7 percent of the victims were girls. The youngest children had the highest rate of victimization. The rate of child victimization of the age group of birth to 3 years was 16.5 per 1,000 children. The victimization rate of children in the age group of 4-7 years was 13.5 per 1,000 children. Nearly three-quarters of child victims (73.1 percent) ages birth to 3 years were neglected compared with 52.7 percent of victims ages 16 years and older…. https://www.psychologytoday.com/conditions/child-neglect

Child neglect occurs in all societies.

NSPCC described the signs of child neglect in Neglect Signs, indicators and effects:
Neglect can have serious and long-lasting effects. It can be anything from leaving a child home alone to the very worst cases where a child dies from malnutrition or being denied the care they need. In some cases it can cause permanent disabilities.
Neglect can be really difficult to identify, making it hard for professionals to take early action to protect a child.
Having one of the signs or symptoms below doesn’t necessarily mean that a child is being neglected. But if you notice multiple, or persistent, signs then it could indicate there’s a serious problem.
Children who are neglected may have:

Poor appearance and hygiene
Health and development problems
Housing and family issues

Children who are neglected often suffer other forms of abuse.
Things you may notice
If you’re worried that a child is being abused, watch out for any unusual behaviour.
• withdrawn
• suddenly behaves differently
• anxious
• clingy
• depressed
• aggressive
• problems sleeping
• eating disorders
• wets the bed
• soils clothes
• takes risks
• misses school
• changes in eating habits
• obsessive behaviour
• nightmares
• drugs
• alcohol
• self-harm
• thoughts about suicide
Find out more about the signs, symptoms and effects of child abuse.

The impact of neglect
Children who have been neglected may experience short-term and long-term effects that last throughout their life.
Children who don’t get the love and care they need from their parents may find it difficult to maintain healthy relationships with other people later in life, including their own children.
Children who have been neglected are more likely to experience mental health problems including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Young people may also take risks, such as running away from home, breaking the law, abusing drugs or alcohol, or getting involved in dangerous relationships – putting them at risk from sexual exploitation. https://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/child-abuse-and-neglect/neglect/signs-symptoms-effects-neglect/ https://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/child-abuse-and-neglect/neglect/signs-symptoms-effects-neglect

A University of Buffalo study reported social workers lack tools to identify child neglect.

Science Daily reported in Social workers lack tools to identify potential chronic child neglect, study suggests:

Neglect accounts for more than 75 percent of all child protection cases in the United States, yet, despite this alarming frequency, child welfare workers lack effective assessment tools for identifying the associated risk and protective factors of chronic neglect, according to Patricia Logan-Greene, an assistant professor in the University at Buffalo School of Social Work.
Logan-Greene is the author of a newly published study with Annette Semanchin Jones, also an assistant professor of social work at UB, which suggests that the ineffective assessments are often the result of using instruments that are not specifically designed to include elements predicting chronic neglect.
Generally speaking, neglect refers to a lack of adequate care, including failure to meet basic needs like food and housing, lack of supervision, missing essential medical care and educational neglect. Chronic neglect refers to repeated incidents of neglect, often across several developmental stages.
The effects of chronic neglect can impact early brain development, cognitive development and emotional regulation, but even within child protection agencies, social workers might rate neglect cases as lower risk when compared to what they consider more serious offenses.
The authors say that many child protection agencies, in the absence of properly targeted assessments, turn to standardized assessments that do not address the potential accumulation of harm due to chronic neglect….’’
The authors identified critical predictors of chronic neglect, such as hazardous housing, mismanaged finances and alcohol abuse, which Logan-Greene says can help determine which families need help the most.
The primary caregiver in families with chronic neglect was also more likely to have a history of domestic violence, drug use and mental health problems.
Knowledge of these factors also makes it more likely to either develop new, more effective tools or to modify current ones that focus on chronic neglect.
“One of the implications here is that we could potentially add to or adjust standardized assessments so we could use them for chronic neglect,” says Semanchin Jones. “There are many ways neglect impacts on the well-being of these children, so if we know that, we can then intervene for families that might go on to develop chronic neglect.”
The findings, which add critical new insights to the understudied area of chronic child neglect, appear in the journal Child & Family Social Work…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171214142028.htm

Citation:

Social workers lack tools to identify potential chronic child neglect, study suggests
Date: December 14, 2017
Source: University at Buffalo
Summary:
Neglect accounts for the majority of all child protection cases in the United States, yet child welfare workers lack effective assessment tools for identifying the associated risk and protective factors of chronic neglect. The ineffective assessments are often the result of using instruments that are not specifically designed to include elements predicting chronic neglect, according to a new study.

Journal Reference:
1. Patricia Logan-Greene, Annette Semanchin Jones. Predicting chronic neglect: Understanding risk and protective factors for CPS-involved families. Child & Family Social Work, 2017; DOI: 10.1111/cfs.12414

Here is the press release from the University of Buffalo:

Study suggests social workers lack tools to identify potential chronic child neglect
By Bert Gambini
Release Date: December 14, 2017

“Most of the time child neglect is considered among the least damaging forms of maltreatment compared to physical and sexual abuse, but we do have research that neglect and chronic neglect, especially, are significantly detrimental to children even when they’re not physically harmed.”
Patricia Logan-Greene, assistant professor of social work
University at Buffalo
BUFFALO, N.Y. – Neglect accounts for more than 75 percent of all child protection cases in the United States, yet, despite this alarming frequency, child welfare workers lack effective assessment tools for identifying the associated risk and protective factors of chronic neglect, according to Patricia Logan-Greene, an assistant professor in the University at Buffalo School of Social Work.
Logan-Greene is the author of a newly published study with Annette Semanchin Jones, also an assistant professor of social work at UB, which suggests that the ineffective assessments are often the result of using instruments that are not specifically designed to include elements predicting chronic neglect.
Generally speaking, neglect refers to a lack of adequate care, including failure to meet basic needs like food and housing, lack of supervision, missing essential medical care and educational neglect. Chronic neglect refers to repeated incidents of neglect, often across several developmental stages.
The effects of chronic neglect can impact early brain development, cognitive development and emotional regulation, but even within child protection agencies, social workers might rate neglect cases as lower risk when compared to what they consider more serious offenses.
The authors say that many child protection agencies, in the absence of properly targeted assessments, turn to standardized assessments that do not address the potential accumulation of harm due to chronic neglect.
“Most of these tools weren’t developed with chronic neglect in mind at all, but even the standardized assessments, according to the results, weren’t consistently implemented,” says Logan-Greene. “We know from previous research, for example, that having in place good support systems protects against neglect, yet 99 percent of families with chronic neglect are categorized as having good support.
“That can’t possibly be true.”
“There’s a real opportunity here for states to look at implementation practices and train case workers to ensure effective implementation,” says Semanchin Jones.
The authors identified critical predictors of chronic neglect, such as hazardous housing, mismanaged finances and alcohol abuse, which Logan-Greene says can help determine which families need help the most.
The primary caregiver in families with chronic neglect was also more likely to have a history of domestic violence, drug use and mental health problems.
Knowledge of these factors also makes it more likely to either develop new, more effective tools or to modify current ones that focus on chronic neglect.
“One of the implications here is that we could potentially add to or adjust standardized assessments so we could use them for chronic neglect,” says Semanchin Jones. “There are many ways neglect impacts on the well-being of these children, so if we know that, we can then intervene for families that might go on to develop chronic neglect.”
The findings, which add critical new insights to the understudied area of chronic child neglect, appear in the journal Child & Family Social Work.
In addition to the prevalence of neglect, Logan-Greene mentions the ironic “neglect of neglect” in research, as noted decades ago by the child welfare scholar Leroy Pelton.
And while Pelton’s words still have an element of truth today, Logan-Greene and Semanchin Jones are among those researchers contributing to a growing body of literature on chronic neglect.
The challenges begin at a basic level.
Although evidence points to the seriousness of neglect, there is no federal definition of the term. Different states have different standards and because some child welfare systems exist as county-administered agencies, the definition of neglect can vary even within a particular state.
“Most of the time child neglect is considered among the least damaging forms of maltreatment compared to physical and sexual abuse, but we do have research that neglect and chronic neglect, especially, are significantly detrimental to children even when they’re not physically harmed,” says Logan-Greene.
For their study, Logan-Greene and Semanchin Jones conceptualized chronic neglect as five or more reports investigated by child protection agencies over a five-year period.
The research was prospective with the authors looking at roughly 2,000 cases from the time of a first neglect report and then followed the families into the future to determine if that neglect became chronic.
“We compared those who never had another report to others, and we also compared them using the agency’s risk assessment tools to determine if that tool effectively predicted chronic neglect,” says Semanchin Jones.
Media Contact Information
Bert Gambini
News Content Manager
Arts and Humanities, Economics, Social Sciences, Social Work
Tel: 716-645-5334
gambini@buffalo.edu

Strategies to identify child neglect must be researched and refined.

Prevent Child Abuse America described strategies for preventing child neglect:

Prevent Child Abuse America advocates for:
• Increasing services to families such as home visiting, early childhood education, and parent education.
Child neglect often occurs when parents are overwhelmed with an array of stressors, including the difficulties of coping with poverty and its many associated burdens, single parenthood, limited parenting skills, depression, substance abuse, interpersonal violence, as well as the daily stressors most parents face.1 Services such as home visiting, early childhood education, and parent education provide emotional support, knowledge, and guidance on how to provide a nurturing environment for children. In addition, ensuring that all children have a quality education will help ensure this important need is met. Other services can assist potential parents in considering their readiness for a family, the number of children they wish to have, and appropriate spacing between births. These services can also help parents effectively care for the children they already have. In sum, services that strengthen families and support parents should in turn enhance children’s development, health and safety, and help prevent child neglect.
• Providing mental health services to parents and neglected children and youth.
Many neglected children have parents who are emotionally unstable or depressed.2 Mental health services can assist such parents to become emotionally healthier and better able to adequately care for their children. In addition, children often face adverse and potentially long-term psychological consequences due to neglect. Mental health services, especially at an early point, can help mitigate these consequences and can help ensure that neglect is not transmitted to the next generation.
• Ensuring access for all children to affordable, quality health care, including prenatal, dental, and mental health services.
Access to health care is critical to child and family well-being and helps protect against neglect. Without health insurance, families are less likely to seek timely and preventive health care. When they do, the cost of that care contributes to a family’s economic insecurity. Both of these are risk factors for neglect. In addition, children’s health care providers are a valuable source of support and advice for parents as they raise their children. They inform parents about community resources such as home visiting programs and parent support groups that can help prevent child abuse before it happens and provide information about child development and strategies for dealing with a variety of parenting challenges.
• Increasing efforts to address social problems such as poverty, substance abuse, and family violence which contribute to neglect.
Neglect is often intertwined with social problems, such as poverty, substance abuse, and family violence. It is crucial that greater resources be allocated to reduce these major problems that contribute to neglect. Such efforts must include the prevention of child neglect as an explicit goal.
• Increasing public awareness efforts to educate the public about child neglect, its seriousness, and how they can help prevent it, as well as foster a shared sense of societal responsibility.
Raising public awareness of the serious and pervasive nature of child neglect is essential in order for real change to occur. Children interact with an array of people in their community who play a vital role in their development. We need to recognize this and mobilize significant financial and human resources to address the problem. A public that appreciates the serious and pervasive nature of child neglect should be a crucial ally for necessary changes. They can help advocate for and support the policies and programs needed to enhance children’s development, health and safety, and help prevent their neglect.
• Increasing research efforts to improve our understanding of child neglect abuse – its nature, extent, causes, and consequences, as well as what helps prevent and address it.
Our current understanding of child neglect is limited. A better understanding is essential to guide policymakers and practitioners to develop policies and programs to tackle neglect. A variety of programs have been developed aiming to optimize children’s development, health and safety. Careful evaluation is needed to learn what works, and to replicate effective programs. It is also likely that new policies and programs addressing child neglect need to be developed and evaluated….. http://preventchildabuse.org/resource/preventing-child-neglect/

Our goal as a society should be:

A healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy social in a healthy neighborhood (c)

Resources:

Chronic Child Neglect https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/chronic-neglect/

Chronic Neglect Can Lead to Aggression in Kids https://psychcentral.com/news/2015/04/22/chronic-neglect-can-lead-to-aggression-in-kids/83788.html

Child Neglect https://www.psychologytoday.com/conditions/child-neglect

Neglect https://developingchild.harvard.edu/science/deep-dives/neglect/
Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

University of Toledo study: Children Who Are Emotionally Abused May Be More Likely to Experience Migraine as Adults

4 Mar

Moi said in Schools have to deal with depressed and troubled children:
Both the culture and the economy are experiencing turmoil. For some communities, the unsettled environment is a new phenomenon, for other communities, children have been stressed for generations. According to the article, Understanding Depression which was posted at the Kids Health site:

Depression is the most common mental health problem in the United States. Each year it affects 17 million people of all age groups, races, and economic backgrounds.
As many as 1 in every 33 children may have depression; in teens, that number may be as high as 1 in 8. http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/feelings/understanding_depression.html

Schools are developing strategies to deal with troubled kids.

Andrew M. Seaman of Reuters reported in Parents’ depression may affect kids’ school performance:

Children perform worse in school when their parents are diagnosed with depression, suggests a study from Sweden.

The study found a significant negative link between parents’ depression and kids’ school performance, said senior author Brian Lee, of the Drexel University School of Public Health in Philadelphia.

“We obviously know that depression is a bad thing like any other mental health outcome,” Lee said. “It’s less recognized that mental health outcomes affect other people than the people themselves. So for parents or guardians, a vulnerable population would be their children.”

Previous studies found children with depressed parents are more likely to have problems with brain development, behavior and emotions, along with other psychiatric problems, Lee and his colleagues write in JAMA Psychiatry. Few studies have looked at school performance, however….

Overall, when parents were diagnosed with depression during their children’s lifetime, the kids’ grades suffered. A mother’s depression appeared to affect daughters more than sons, they note.

Lee characterized the link between parental depression and children’s school performance as “moderate.”

On the range of factors that influence a child’s school performance, Lee said parental depression falls between a family’s economic status and parental education, which is one of the biggest factors in determining a child’s success in school.

The researchers caution that depression may have been undermeasured in the population. Also, they can’t say that a parent’s depression actually causes children to perform worse in school…. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-school-depression-parents-idUSKCN0VC2VS

One of the effects of parental depression can be both physical and emotional child abuse.

Science Daily reported in Children Who Are Emotionally Abused May Be More Likely to Experience Migraine as Adults:

Children who are emotionally abused may be more likely to experience migraines as young adults, according to a preliminary study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 68th Annual Meeting in Vancouver, Canada, April 15 to 21, 2016. The link between migraine and abuse was stronger for emotional abuse than for physical or sexual abuse in the study.

“Emotional abuse showed the strongest link to increased risk of migraine,” said author Gretchen Tietjen, MD, from the University of Toledo in Ohio and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. “Childhood abuse can have long-lasting effects on health and well-being.”

In the study, emotional abuse was assessed by asking, “How often did a parent or other adult caregiver say things that really hurt your feelings or made you feel like you were not wanted or loved?”

The study included data from 14,484 people age 24 to 32. About 14 percent reported they had been diagnosed with migraines. The participants were asked whether they had experienced emotional, physical or sexual abuse in childhood. Physical abuse was defined as being hit with a fist, kicked, or thrown down on the floor, into a wall, or down stairs. Sexual abuse included forced sexual touching or sexual relations. About 47 percent of the participants answered yes to having been emotionally abused, 18 percent physically abused and 5 percent sexually abused.

Of those diagnosed with migraines, 61 percent said they had been abused as a child. Of those who never had a migraine, 49 percent said they were abused. Those who were abused were 55 percent more likely to experience migraine than those who were never abused after accounting for age, income, race and sex.

Those who were emotionally abused were 52 percent more likely to have migraine than those who were not abused, after accounting for other types of abuse as well as age, income, race and sex. In contrast, those who were sexually or physically abused were not significantly more likely to have migraine than people who were not abused.

The relationship between emotional abuse and migraine remained when researchers adjusted the results to take into account depression and anxiety. In that analysis, people who were emotionally abused were 32 percent more likely to have migraine than people who were not abused.

Tietjen noted that the study shows an association between childhood emotional abuse, a very common occurrence, and migraine. It does not show cause and effect, although the finding that the likelihood of having migraines increases with increasing number of abuse types is suggestive of it…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160302182237.htm

Citation:

Children Who Are Emotionally Abused May Be More Likely to Experience Migraine as Adults
Date: March 2, 2016
Source: American Academy of Neurology (AAN)
Summary:
Children who are emotionally abused may be more likely to experience migraines as young adults, according to a preliminary study. The link between migraine and abuse was stronger for emotional abuse than for physical or sexual abuse in the study.

American Academy of Neurology (AAN). “Children Who Are Emotionally Abused May Be More Likely to Experience Migraine as Adults.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 March 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160302182237.htm>.

Here is the press release from the American Academy of Neurology:

Public Release: 2-Mar-2016

Children who are emotionally abused may be more likely to experience migraine as adults
American Academy of Neurology

MINNEAPOLIS – Children who are emotionally abused may be more likely to experience migraines as young adults, according to a preliminary study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 68th Annual Meeting in Vancouver, Canada, April 15 to 21, 2016. The link between migraine and abuse was stronger for emotional abuse than for physical or sexual abuse in the study.

“Emotional abuse showed the strongest link to increased risk of migraine,” said author Gretchen Tietjen, MD, from the University of Toledo in Ohio and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. “Childhood abuse can have long-lasting effects on health and well-being.”

In the study, emotional abuse was assessed by asking, “How often did a parent or other adult caregiver say things that really hurt your feelings or made you feel like you were not wanted or loved?”

The study included data from 14,484 people age 24 to 32. About 14 percent reported they had been diagnosed with migraines. The participants were asked whether they had experienced emotional, physical or sexual abuse in childhood. Physical abuse was defined as being hit with a fist, kicked, or thrown down on the floor, into a wall, or down stairs. Sexual abuse included forced sexual touching or sexual relations. About 47 percent of the participants answered yes to having been emotionally abused, 18 percent physically abused and 5 percent sexually abused.

Of those diagnosed with migraines, 61 percent said they had been abused as a child. Of those who never had a migraine, 49 percent said they were abused. Those who were abused were 55 percent more likely to experience migraine than those who were never abused after accounting for age, income, race and sex.

Those who were emotionally abused were 52 percent more likely to have migraine than those who were not abused, after accounting for other types of abuse as well as age, income, race and sex. In contrast, those who were sexually or physically abused were not significantly more likely to have migraine than people who were not abused.

The relationship between emotional abuse and migraine remained when researchers adjusted the results to take into account depression and anxiety. In that analysis, people who were emotionally abused were 32 percent more likely to have migraine than people who were not abused.

Tietjen noted that the study shows an association between childhood emotional abuse, a very common occurrence, and migraine. It does not show cause and effect, although the finding that the likelihood of having migraines increases with increasing number of abuse types is suggestive of it.

“More research is needed to better understand this relationship between childhood abuse and migraine,” said Tietjen. “This is also something doctors may want to consider when they treat people with migraine.”

The study was supported by the University of Toledo and the Clair Martig Endowment.
Learn more about migraine at http://www.aan.com/patients.
The American Academy of Neurology, an association of 30,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, migraine, multiple sclerosis, brain injury, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.
For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit http://www.aan.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube.
See, UT neurologist’s research links emotional abuse in children to migraines as young adults http://utnews.utoledo.edu/index.php/03_04_2016/ut-neurologists-research-links-emotional-abuse-in-children-to-migraines-as-young-adults

If you or your child needs help for depression or another illness, then go to a reputable medical provider. There is nothing wrong with taking the steps necessary to get well.

Related:

Schools have to deal with depressed and troubled children
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/schools-have-to-deal-with-depressed-and-troubled-children/

School psychologists are needed to treat troubled children
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/02/27/school-psychologists-are-needed-to-treat-troubled-children/

Battling teen addiction: ‘Recovery high schools’
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/07/08/battling-teen-addiction-recovery-high-schools/

Resources:

1. About.Com’s Depression In Young Children http://depression.about.com/od/child/Young_Children.htm

2. Psych Central’s Depression In Young Children http://depression.about.com/od/child/Young_Children.htm

3. Psychiatric News’ Study Helps Pinpoint Children With Depression http://psychnews.psychiatryonline.org/newsarticle.aspx?articleid=106034

4. Family Doctor’s What Is Depression? http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/depression.html

5. WebMD’s Depression In Children http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/depression-children

6. Healthline’s Is Your Child Depressed?
http://www.healthline.com/hlvideo-5min/how-to-help-your-child-through-depression-517095449

7. Medicine.Net’s Depression In Children http://www.onhealth.com/depression_in_children/article.htm

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University of Texas Health Sciences study: Children born with cleft lip or palate and spina bifida are at an increased risk for abuse

11 Dec

The American Psychological Association lists the reasons children are abused in Why Do Adults Hurt Children?

It takes a lot to care for a child. A child needs food, clothing and shelter as well as love and attention. Parents and caregivers want to provide all those things, but they have other pressures, too. Sometimes adults just can’t provide everything their children need.

Adults may not intend to hurt the children they care for. But sometimes adults lose control, and sometimes they hurt children.

Adults may hurt children because they:

  • Lose their tempers when they think about their own problems.

  • Don’t know how to discipline a child.

  • Expect behavior that is unrealistic for a child’s age or ability.

  • Have been abused by a parent or a partner.

  • Have financial problems.

  • Lose control when they use alcohol or other drugs….                                                                       http://www.apa.org/pi/families/resources/abuse.aspx

A University of Texas Health Sciences study concludes that children born with cleft lip or palate and spina bifida are at an increased risk for abuse.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes what a cleft lip or palate are:

What is Cleft Lip?

The lip forms between the fourth and seventh weeks of pregnancy. As a baby develops during pregnancy, body tissue and special cells from each side of the head grow toward the center of the face and join together to make the face. This joining of tissue forms the facial features, like the lips and mouth. A cleft lip happens if the tissue that makes up the lip does not join completely before birth. This results in an opening in the upper lip. The opening in the lip can be a small slit or it can be a large opening that goes through the lip into the nose. A cleft lip can be on one or both sides of the lip or in the middle of the lip, which occurs very rarely. Children with a cleft lip also can have a cleft palate.

What is Cleft Palate?

The roof of the mouth (palate) is formed between the sixth and ninth weeks of pregnancy. A cleft palate happens if the tissue that makes up the roof of the mouth does not join together completely during pregnancy. For some babies, both the front and back parts of the palate are open. For other babies, only part of the palate is open.

Other Problems

Children with a cleft lip with or without a cleft palate or a cleft palate alone often have problems with feeding and speaking clearly and can have ear infections. They also might have hearing problems and problems with their teeth….                                                                                                   http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/birthdefects/CleftLip.html

Another group of children at high risk of abuse are those with spina bifida. The Mayo Clinic describes spina bifida:

Spina bifida is part of a group of birth defects called neural tube defects. The neural tube is the embryonic structure that eventually develops into the baby’s brain and spinal cord and the tissues that enclose them.

Normally, the neural tube forms early in the pregnancy and closes by the 28th day after conception. In babies with spina bifida, a portion of the neural tube fails to develop or close properly, causing defects in the spinal cord and in the bones of the spine.

Spina bifida occurs in various forms of severity. When treatment for spina bifida is necessary, it’s done surgically, although such treatment doesn’t always completely resolve the problem….                   http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/spina-bifida/basics/definition/CON-20035356

Children with a medical condition are vulnerable to abuse.

Alyson Sulaski Wyckoff , Associate Editor of AAP wrote in Maltreatment of child under 2 more likely if certain birth defects present:

Children younger than 2 years were more likely to be maltreated if they had spina bifida or cleft lip/palate than if they had Down syndrome, according to a population-based study of 3 million children born in Texas from 2002-’09.

Birth defects occur in one in 33 U.S. births, and children with disabilities face an increased risk for maltreatment and out-of-home placement. It is not known how the risk might vary by type of birth defect.

The study was conducted to assess whether the risks and predictors of maltreatment vary by three types of birth defects: Down syndrome (intellectual impairment), cleft lip with or without cleft palate (facial malformation and speech impairment) and spina bifida (physical disability). Children with these disabilities were compared to an unaffected group.

The risk of any type of maltreatment was significantly higher for children with spina bifida and cleft lip/palate, an increase of 58% and 40%, respectively, even after adjusting for child-, family-, and neighborhood-level factors. Children with Down syndrome, however, were not at increased risk of maltreatment before age 2.

The study also found that children with birth defects are at risk for different types of maltreatment than other children. The risk of medical neglect was three to six times higher in the three birth defects groups compared with the unaffected group, which may be related to the medical complexity of the children’s conditions.

Maltreated children tended to be males and those born prematurely. Parents were the most frequent perpetrators, especially those living in poverty.

The risk of maltreatment was elevated for children whose mothers were young, white non-Hispanic, unmarried and who did not indicated paternity information on birth certificates. They were more likely to have a high school education or less, to have given birth previously and to have had the birth covered by Medicaid.

Future studies could inform policies and services aimed at improving outcomes of at-risk families by targeting populations with the highest risk for maltreatment, the authors noted.

Children with developmental delays, including those with the birth defects examined in this study, qualify for early childhood intervention services (Part C) under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, but many qualifying children do not receive these services, the study points out….                                                                                                                                                   http://www.aappublications.org/news/2015/12/01/Maltreatment120115

Citation:

Children with specific birth defects at increased risk for abuse

Date:           December 10, 2015

Source:       University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

Summary:

Children born with cleft lip or palate and spina bifida are at an increased risk for abuse before the age of two, according to researchers. The researchers found that compared to children without birth defects the risk of maltreatment in children with cleft lip and/or palate was increased by 40 percent and for children with spina bifida, the risk was increased by 58 percent.

Journal Reference:

  1. B. S. Van Horne, K. B. Moffitt, M. A. Canfield, A. P. Case, C. S. Greeley, R. Morgan, L. E. Mitchell. Maltreatment of Children Under Age 2 With Specific Birth Defects: A Population-Based Study. PEDIATRICS, 2015; 136 (6): e1504 DOI: 10.1542/peds.2015-1274                                  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/12/151210140510.htm

Here is the press release from UT Health Sciences:

Public Release: 10-Dec-2015

UTHeath study: Children with specific birth defects at increased risk for abuse

University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

HOUSTON – (Dec. 10, 2015) – Children born with cleft lip or palate and spina bifida are at an increased risk for abuse before the age of 2, according to researchers from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).The results were published in the December issue of the journal Pediatrics.

In the study, researchers found that compared to children without birth defects the risk of maltreatment in children with cleft lip and/or palate was increased by 40 percent and for children with spina bifida, the risk was increased by 58 percent. These rates were especially high during the first year of life. However, children with Down syndrome were not at an increased risk compared to children with no birth defects.

“A baby with Down syndrome develops just like any other baby unless they have another congenital defect. When they start missing developmental milestones is when the intellectual impairments associated with Down syndrome become more apparent. Additionally, they typically do not have the same level of medical complexity as babies with cleft lip with or without cleft palate and spina bifida, who likely have a lot of medical needs and complications. If you’ve just given birth and have to deal with a lot more complexity and care, it’s hard,” said Bethanie Van Horne, Dr.P.H., assistant director of state initiatives at UTHealth’s Children’s Learning Institute. Van Horne conducted the study as part of her dissertation at UTHealth School of Public Health.

Cleft lip and cleft palate are birth defects that occur when a baby’s lip or mouth do not form properly during pregnancy. A baby can have a cleft lip, a cleft palate, or both a cleft lip and cleft palate. Spina bifida is a neural tube defect that affects the spine and is usually apparent at birth. Children with spina bifida have physical impairments ranging from mild to severe depending where on the spine the opening is located.

The researchers drew data from several sources from 2002 to 2011: birth and death records from the Texas Department of State Health Services Vital Statistics Unit, surveillance of children born with birth defects from the Texas Birth Defects Registry and child maltreatment information from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

In Texas, maltreatment is defined as neglectful supervision, physical abuse, physical neglect, medical neglect, sexual abuse, abandonment, emotional abuse or refusal to assume parental responsibility.

Among children with substantiated abuse, the risk of medical neglect was three to six times higher among all three birth defect groups than in the unaffected group. The complexity of their medical conditions may be a contributing factor for the increased risk of medical neglect versus other forms of neglect, according to Van Horne.

Researchers also studied how family factors affected risk of abuse. Children were more likely to be abused or neglected if their mothers had less than a high school education, had more children and used Medicaid. This was true even if a child did not have a birth defect. Van Horne said that poverty was likely the main factor in this finding.

“Physicians and medical personnel have to understand that the risk for abuse varies by specific disability. In general, when children are born with medical complexities like a birth defect, we need to be really supportive of those families. If we can identify them early and start services, we can help them understand what’s to come. A lot of providers do this, but we can do more,” said Van Horne.

###

Karen B. Moffitt, M.P.H., Mark A. Canfield, Ph.D., and Amy P. Case, Ph.D., from the Birth Defects Epidemiology and Surveillance Branch of the Texas Department of State Health Services were study co-authors, as was Christopher Greeley, M.D., a former faculty member at UTHealth, who is now with Texas Children’s Hospital. Co-authors from the School of Public Health included Robert Morgan, Ph.D., and Laura E. Mitchell, Ph.D.

The study, titled ‘Maltreatment of Children under Age 2 with Specific Birth Defects: A Population-Based Study,’ was funded through a cooperative agreement (#5U01DD000494-04) between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Texas Department of State Health Services, as well as through funding from the Title V Block Grant at the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.                   http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-12/uoth-usc121015.php

Stepparents and Abuse

It is difficult to find statistics on abuse by step-parents, but one study out of Sweden, Step-parents abuse children to death more often provide some food for thought.

258 children under the age of 16 were killed by their parents between 1965 and 1999. 23 of the children (9%) were abused to death. Stepchildren are more often killed by abuse than children who are killed by their biological parents, according to new research from the University of Stockholm. More than half of the 258 children were killed in connection with a conflict between the parents e.g. divorce or custody battle. Most of these children died in connection with the extended suicide where the perpetrator took or tried to take his own life. The men who murdered their children also often took the life of their partner. On the other hand, no woman tried to kill their partner when she murdered the children, writes senior lecturer Hans Temrin and PhD student Johanna Nordlund at The University of Stockholm.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has statistics about infanticide but it is difficult to determine specific abuse by step-parents because of the reporting.

Note: Parents includes stepparents.

Of all children under age 5 murdered from 1976-2005 —

  • 31% were killed by fathers

  • 29% were killed by mothers

  • 23% were killed by male acquaintances

  • 7% were killed by other relatives

  • 3% were killed by strangers

Of those children killed by someone other than their parent, 81% were killed by males.

How to Spot Signs of Abuse

Child Information Welfare Gateway has an excellent guide for how to spot child abuse and neglect The full list of symptoms is at the site, but some key indicators are:

                         The Child:

Shows sudden changes in behavior or school performance

Has not received help for physical or medical problems brought to the parents’ attention

Has learning problems (or difficulty concentrating) that cannot be attributed to specific physical or psychological causes

Is always watchful, as though preparing for something bad to happen

Lacks adult supervision

Is overly compliant, passive, or withdrawn

Comes to school or other activities early, stays late, and does not want to go home

The Parent:

Shows little concern for the child

Denies the existence of—or blames the child for—the child’s problems in school or at home

Asks teachers or other caregivers to use harsh physical discipline if the child misbehaves

Sees the child as entirely bad, worthless, or burdensome

Demands a level of physical or academic performance the child cannot achieve

Looks primarily to the child for care, attention, and satisfaction of emotional needs

The Parent and Child:

Rarely touch or look at each other

Consider their relationship entirely negative

State that they do not like each other                                                                                                                  https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/whatiscan.pdf#page=5&view=Recognizing%20Signs%20of%20Abuse%20and%20Neglect

If people suspect a child is being abused, they must get involved. Every Child Matters can very useful and can be found at http://www.everychildmatters.org/ and another organization, which fights child abuse is the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform http://nccpr.info/   People must push for tougher standards against child abuse.

Many Single Parents are not Going to Like these Comments

Queen Victoria had it right when she was rumored to have said something to the effect that she did not care what two consenting single adults did as long as they did not do it in the streets and scare the horses. A consenting single parent does not have the same amount of leeway as a consenting childless single adult because the primary responsibility of any parent is raising their child or children. People have children for a variety of reasons from having an unplanned pregnancy because of irresponsibility or hoping that the pregnancy is the glue, which might save a failing relationship, to those who genuinely want to be parents. Still, being a parent is like the sign in the china shop, which says you break it, it’s yours. Well folks, you had children, they are yours. Somebody has to be the adult and be responsible for not only their care and feeding, but their values. I don’t care if he looks like Brad Pitt or Denzel Washington. I don’t care if she looks like Angelina Jolie or Halle Berry or they have as much money as Bill Gates or Warren Buffet, if they don’t like children or your children, they have to be kicked to the curb. You cannot under any circumstances allow anyone to abuse your children or you. When you partner with a parent, you must be willing to fully accept their children. If you can’t and they are too gutless to tell you to hit the road, I’ll do it for them. Hit the road.

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

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Ohio v. Clark (No.13-1352): Duty of teachers to report suspected abuse

9 Mar

Most people do not want people, especially children, abused. One means of early intervention is mandatory reporting of suspected abuse by certain groups like teachers or medical personnel. Accessing Safety lists the pros and cons of mandatory reporting:

Pros
Supporters of mandatory reporting believe that mandatory reporting can enhance victim/survivor safety by:
• linking people with services that will provide information and referrals to improve their living situations,
• getting victim/survivors away from abusers and perpetrators;
• reporting violence, abuse, and sexual assault to increase the number of cases reaching authorities and being documented, thereby increasing an understanding of the prevalence of such violence and its incidence; and
• offering an opportunity to provide training on issues of violence to professionals and persons who are mandatory reporters.
Cons
Some feel that mandatory reporting may create more harm than good. They believe that risks and consequences of mandatory reporting can include:
• retaliation by abuser/perpetrator/stalker,
• broken trust and confidentiality,
• damage to an individuals’ right to self-determination, an issue that is of particular concern when working with people with disabilities, and
• damaging the relationship between the victim/survivor and service provider, and, ultimately, leading to victims/survivors not seeking help or not returning to services…. http://www.accessingsafety.org/index.php?page=137

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in Ohio v. Clark (No.13-1352).

Mark Walsh reported in the Education Week article, Supreme Court to Hear Case on Abuse Reporting: Mandatory-Reporting Laws Complicate Teachers’ Role:

The U.S. Supreme Court next week takes up a case involving an important but uneasy duty of teachers: reporting suspected abuse or neglect of their students to the appropriate authorities.
The criminal appeal of an Ohio man asks whether teachers’ obligation as “mandatory reporters” of suspected child abuse—something required of them, along with various other professionals, in all 50 states—makes them adjuncts of law enforcement when it comes to prosecuting such cases.
The case of Ohio v. Clark (No.13-1352) also examines whether a child’s statements to a teacher about abuse trigger the Sixth Amendment right of the accused “to be confronted with the witnesses against him.” That typically means such witnesses must testify in open court, where the defendant’s lawyers may cross-examine them.

Darius Clark, a 27-year-old Cleveland man, argues that his rights under the “confrontation clause” were violated when he was convicted of felony assault and endangering children based in significant part on the trial testimony of two Head Start teachers. They recounted information from a child alleging physical abuse by Mr. Clark, who was the boyfriend of the child’s mother.
The 3-year-old boy, identified as L.P., was considered by authorities to be too young and unreliable a witness to testify in court, a common situation in child-abuse cases.

“This case could have implications anywhere there are mandatory-reporting laws, which is everywhere,” said Jason Walta, a senior attorney in the general counsel’s office of the National Education Association. The NEA has filed a joint friend-of-the-court brief with the American Federation of Teachers and the National School Boards Association on the side of the state.
Eric E. Murphy, the state solicitor of Ohio, will argue before the justices on March 2 that a mandatory duty to report suspected child abuse does not, as Ohio’s highest court held, turn teachers into agents of the police.

“The teachers in this case were acting more in a teacher-care capacity, not as the police,” he said in an interview….

Reporting Abuse and Neglect: One State’s Guidelines

A case in the U.S. Supreme Court involves a teacher’s duty to report suspected child abuse and neglect. A booklet from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services serves as a reference for educators on the legal definitions and indicators of abuse and neglect, as well as reporting procedures. Both sides of the Supreme Court case point to one or more of the procedures as bolstering their case.

Among Ohio’s reporting procedures:
• Any school employee who has reason to believe that a child is being, or has been, abused or neglected shall immediately make an oral report of that suspicion to the local public children’s services agency. The report should include, among other information, the following:
– The identity of the caretaker or guardian of the alleged child victim.
– When and where the alleged abuse or neglect occurred, the type, extent, and duration of the alleged abuse or neglect, and the child’s current condition.
– The identity and current whereabouts of the alleged perpetrator, the relationship of the alleged perpetrator to the child victim, and the access he may have to the child. (Note: This is a key phrase pointed to by the criminal defendant to suggest teachers are serving as agents of law enforcement.)
• Immediately after making the report, the school employee shall notify the school principal that a report has been made.
• The oral report shall be followed up with a written report within five working days. That report could include additional helpful information from school records, such as the name of the family physician or other reports the school has made regarding the child.
• The booklet says that “since it is the responsibility of the [children’s service agency] to investigate alleged child abuse and neglect, school personnel shall not pressure the child to divulge information regarding specific circumstances or the identity of the alleged perpetrator.” (Note: This is a key phrase pointed to by the state to say that teachers are not being asked to serve as agents of law enforcement.)
Source: Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Education Week. http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2015/02/25/supreme-court-to-hear-case-on-abuse.html#

Here is the summary of the case http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/ohio-v-clark/

Joan Meier, Professor of Clinical Law, George Washington University Law School wrote in Ohio v. Clark: Do Children’s Statements Have to Be Live Testimony:

Ohio v. Clark thus is the first case both to address children’s statements, and statements made to non-government personnel. First, because the primary purpose test requires an “objective” analysis of whether the circumstances indicated that the statements were made for “testimonial” reasons, or to seek help in an “ongoing emergency,” children’s statements are necessarily a different kettle of fish from adults’ statements. Many courts have wrestled with whether the intent of the speaker, the listener, or both must be factored into the analysis. But unlike with adults, we cannot infer children’s awareness or intent to report to law enforcement, so the objective determination of “purpose” must be made without that input…. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joan-meier/ohio-v-clark-do-childrens_b_6057662.html
Education groups filed amicus briefs arguing the Ohio Supreme Court decision should be overturned.
The National School Boards Association reported in Legal Clips:
The National School Boards Association (NSBA) and the Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) have joined the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) in an amicus brief in Clark v. Ohio, No. 13-1352, urging the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the Ohio Supreme Court’s holding:
(1) that teachers are acting as agents of law enforcement when questioning a minor student regarding suspected child abuse pursuant to Ohio’s mandatory reporting law for purposes of the Sixth Amendment’s Confrontation Clause; and
(2) that out-of-court statements to a teacher in response to the teacher’s concern about potential child abuse qualify as “testimonial” statements subject to the Confrontation Clause….
First, it argues that the Ohio Supreme Court adopted an expansive reading of the Confrontation Clause that would deputize millions of school employees (including teachers, counselors, and administrators), doctors, social workers, and even ordinary citizens as agents of law enforcement, and would render the U.S. Supreme Court’s well-established “primary purpose,” test largely meaningless. –
Second, amici contend that mandatory reporting statutes do not deputize teachers as agents of law enforcement. The brief states: “The argument that statements to mandatory reporters of child abuse are testimonial under the Confrontation Clause has been raised in a number of cases, and both federal and state courts have consistently rejected it….”
Third, the brief argues: “Even if school personnel were treated as agents of law enforcement (or if the Court were to broaden the audience to whom testimonial statements can be made), within the unique context of school settings it is clear that in virtually all situations, their inquiries into a child’s injuries are non-testimonial because those inquiries are made for the primary purpose of protecting children and not primarily to advance a future prosecution….” Fourth, amici assert that by deeming teachers and other school personnel as law enforcement when engaged in their mandatory reporter duties could also have far-reaching consequences that would undermine the welfare of students and the educational process.
Finally, the brief contends “even assuming that statements made to teachers or school personnel could be testimonial in some circumstances this case can be resolved on narrow grounds because the statements at issue here were non-testimonial for at least three additional reasons….” http://legalclips.nsba.org/2014/11/25/sua-sponte-nsba-and-osba-join-nea-and-aft-in-amicus-brief-urging-u-s-supreme-court-to-reverse-ohio-supreme-courts-holding-that-teachers-are-agents-of-law-enforcement-for-purposes-of-the-sixth-amen/#sthash.vZz5Zfg4.dpuf

The Supreme Court could uphold the Ohio Supreme Court’s decision or decide the case more narrowly.

Resources:

Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/systemwide/laws-policies/statutes/manda/?hasBeenRedirected=1

Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect 2013 Introduced State Legislation http://www.ncsl.org/research/human-services/redirect-mandatory-rprtg-of-child-abuse-and-neglect-2013.aspx

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I gotta have a man, so my child’s safety doesn’t matter

31 Mar

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: Pick a city, any city and one will periodically get a story like Kathleen Cooper’s Tacoma New Tribune story, TACOMA: 2-year-old killed; man booked into jail:

A 2-year-old child was killed Saturday morning in Tacoma, and a man has been booked into the Pierce County jail on suspicion of murder.

The News Tribune is not naming the man because he has not yet been charged.

Tacoma police did not release much information beyond the fact of the death, including the gender of the child, the location of the death or the relationship of the suspect to the victim. Tacoma police responded to the scene around 7:30 or 8 a.m., said Tacoma police spokeswoman Loretta Cool. There was “a pattern of abuse,” she said.

Asked why no more details of the crime were available, Cool said the investigation was continuing.

“They’ll charge him on Monday,” she said. “Once they do that, (the information) will come from the prosecutor’s office.”
http://www.thenewstribune.com/2013/03/31/2537250/tacoma-2-year-old-killed-man-booked.html#hyperlocal-headlines-default

Vernol Coleman has wrote an excellent report in the Seattle Weekly entitled A Child Left Behind

Years before she was rescued from virtual imprisonment, Janet (not her real name) tried unsuccessfully to run away from home. On a spring afternoon in March 2005, 11-year-old Janet, accompanied by one of her elementary-school classmates, opted out of her usual bus ride home and fled for the safety of somewhere other than her parents’ Carnation residence. Hours later, a local man called Carnation Elementary School‘s main office to report that the two had arrived at his house a few miles away, and were resting on his front lawn. They were eventually returned to the custody of school officials. There, months of silence gave way to confession as Janet revealed the real reason she had bolted: fear.

According to witness statements given to investigators from the King County Sheriff’s Department, Janet begged her teachers, including Susie Marshall, not to send her home. “Please don’t call my dad,” she said. “He won’t believe me.”

Per the guidelines of the Riverview School District‘s homeschooling program, Janet attended Carnation Elementary two days a week—often enough for at least two of her teachers to notice the slightness of her frame. Still, they didn’t suspect just how bizarre the disciplinary methods at the Pomeroy household had become.

“From what we could tell, no one had any idea that this was going on,” says Carol Gould, one of Janet’s instructors.

Each morning after her father, Jon Pomeroy, a software engineer at a Bellevue information technology firm called Estorian, left for work, Janet remained locked inside a windowless room in a converted garage while her father’s wife, Rebecca Long, slept. To use the bathroom, she told her teachers, she had to bang on the wall to alert her younger brother that she needed to go.

More harrowing details of her situation followed. Janet was not allowed to play outside with her friends or use the computer or phone, she said. Her only full meal came in the evening, after her father arrived home from work and prepared dinner. Beyond that, the only food she was allowed each day was the two pieces of toast given to her when Long awoke each afternoon. Her stepmother, Janet added, “hit her a lot.”

The article details the specific acts of torture this child was forced to endure and also reports about other children who fell through the CPS system.

The genesis of this article begins with this comment from the child’s torturer, “Of her relationship with Janet, Long told authorities that she never wanted to be a stepmother. All their problems started there, she said.” Well, girlfriend, it’s like this, if you don’t want children, hate children, or children creep you out and you are dating or plan to marry an man with children, this will probably end badly. Same goes for dudes, many of you date women with children figuring, to put it bluntly, they are an easy lay. You need to leave women with children alone unless you are willing to step up to the plate and be a positive male role model for the kids.

Stepparents and Abuse

It is difficult to find statistics on abuse by step-parents, but one study out of Sweden, Step-parents abuse children to death more often provide some food for thought.

258 children under the age of 16 were killed by their parents between 1965 and 1999. 23 of the children (9%) were abused to death. Stepchildren are more often killed by abuse than children who are killed by their biological parents, according to new research from the University of Stockholm. More than half of the 258 children were killed in connection with a conflict between the parents e.g. divorce or custody battle. Most of these children died in connection with the extended suicide where the perpetrator took or tried to take his own life. The men who murdered their children also often took the life of their partner. On the other hand, no woman tried to kill their partner when she murdered the children, writes senior lecturer Hans Temrin and PhD student Johanna Nordlund at The University of Stockholm.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has statistics about infanticide but it is difficult to determine specific abuse by step-parents because of the reporting.

Note: Parents includes stepparents.

Of all children under age 5 murdered from 1976-2005 —

·         31% were killed by fathers

·         29% were killed by mothers

·         23% were killed by male acquaintances

·         7% were killed by other relatives

·         3% were killed by strangers

Of those children killed by someone other than their parent, 81% were killed by males.

The child described in the Weekly article had a step-mother who abused her and a biological father who abused by failure to prevent abuse.

How to Spot Signs of Abuse

Child Information Welfare Gateway has an excellent guide for how to spot child abuse and neglect The full list of symptoms is at the site, but some key indicators are:

                         The Child:

Shows sudden changes in behavior or school performance

Has not received help for physical or medical problems brought to the parents’ attention

Has learning problems (or difficulty concentrating) that cannot be attributed to specific physical or psychological causes

Is always watchful, as though preparing for something bad to happen

Lacks adult supervision

Is overly compliant, passive, or withdrawn

Comes to school or other activities early, stays late, and does not want to go home

The Parent:

Shows little concern for the child

Denies the existence of—or blames the child for—the child’s problems in school or at home

Asks teachers or other caregivers to use harsh physical discipline if the child misbehaves

Sees the child as entirely bad, worthless, or burdensome

Demands a level of physical or academic performance the child cannot achieve

Looks primarily to the child for care, attention, and satisfaction of emotional needs

The Parent and Child:

Rarely touch or look at each other

Consider their relationship entirely negative

State that they do not like each other

If people suspect a child is being abused, they must get involved. Every Child Matters can very useful and can be found at the Every Child matters site and another organization, which fights child abuse is the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform People must push for tougher standards against child abuse.

Many Single Parents are not Going to Like these Comments

Queen Victoria had it right when she was rumored to have said something to the effect that she did not care what two consenting single adults did as long as they did not do it in the streets and scare the horses. A consenting single parent does not have the same amount of leeway as a consenting childless single adult because the primary responsibility of any parent is raising their child or children. People have children for a variety of reasons from having an unplanned pregnancy because of irresponsibility or hoping that the pregnancy is the glue, which might save a failing relationship, to those who genuinely want to be parents. Still, being a parent is like the sign in the china shop, which says you break it, it’s yours. Well folks, you had children, they are yours. Somebody has to be the adult and be responsible for not only their care and feeding, but their values. I don’t care if he looks like Brad Pitt or Denzel Washington. I don’t care if she looks like Angelina Jolie or Halle Berry or they have as much money as Bill Gates or Warren Buffet, if they don’t like children or your children, they have to be kicked to the curb. You cannot under any circumstances allow anyone to abuse your children or you. When you partner with a parent, you must be willing to fully accept their children. If you can’t and they are too gutless to tell you to hit the road, I’ll do it for them. Hit the road.

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