Tag Archives: NSPCC

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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