Tag Archives: Child Neglect

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/
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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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