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Child protection issues


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Issues in Youth and families: child abuse

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Child protection issues

  1. 1. Child Protection Issues HMNS 10111
  2. 2. Dynamics of Abuse • The occurrence of abuse is seen as an interaction between characteristics of the parent, stresses from the environment and child behaviours or characteristics that combine to create a crisis.
  3. 3. Canadian Incidence Study 2008 • rate of investigation not changed significantly between 20003 and 2008 • 36% of all investigations were substantiated • 92% of investigations did not involve placements (change of residence for child) • 22% of substantiated cases involved children of aboriginal heritage • 2 most frequent occurring categories for investigation were exposure to intimate partner violence (34%) and neglect (34%) • Physical abuse (20%) • Emotional maltreatment (9%) • Sexual Abuse (3%)
  4. 4. Power vs Vulnerability A child who is being abused is usually in a position of dependence on the abuser. The power imbalance between the child and the abuser often increases the burden of disclosure. E.g. sexually abused children • A child’s vulnerability to abuse may increased by factors such as: dislocation, colonization, racism, sexism, homophobia, poverty and social isolation. deptofJustice,2001
  5. 5. Risk Factors CIS(2008) frequently noted primary caregiver concerns • Domestic violence (46%) • Having few social supports (39%) • Having mental health issues (27%) Household risk factors 12%: • Receiving social assistance • Household moves • Household hazards (access to drugs, paraphernalia, unhealthy unsafe living conditions, accessible weapons) They may: • Expect a great deal from their children • Unrealistic about child’s ability • These parents often behave like unloved children • Perceive child as a rival for affection from others • Show little ability to understand or listen to the child’s needs, feelings or helplessness • Speak of the abused child as bad and blame him for problems • Not have been parented well • Not recognize their own needs
  6. 6. Physical Abuse 1. Any non-accidental infliction of physical injury upon a child by a care taker, most physical abuse is associate with physical punishment and confused with child discipline
  7. 7. Emotional Abuse Injury to the intellectual or psychological capacity of the child as evidenced by observable impairment to his ability to develop and function within a normal range of performance and behavior with regard for his culture. There is always emotional abuse where there is serious physical abuse • Examples of emotional abuse: • Shutting the child in a closet for hours, vicious verbal assaults on child’s character or mannerisms, terrorism • Emotional abuse is incremental – it builds up serious damage over time • Chronically abusive behavior by parents harms children
  8. 8. Child Neglect Lack of attention to the physical and/or emotional needs of a child and a failure to use available resources to meet those needs • Neglect is passive but still dangerous • Most common form from CIS (2003)was failure to supervise leading to physical harm (48%) • Concepts of neglect are also related to values regarding the way children should be cared for
  9. 9. Types of Neglect • Physical (food, shelter, clothing, cleanliness, safety) • Medical • Educational • Supervision and guidance • abandonment
  10. 10. Children At Risk for Neglect • No preparation for child’s arrival • Seen as ugly, odorous, offensive • Vomit and feces disgusting • Absence of touching, talking • Lack of empathy for infant’s helplessness or crying • Failure to thrive: means child not gaining weight, not developing and not growing within a normal range • Need to rule out: • Organic problems • Lack of incorrect feeding techniques • Not preparing formula properly • Lack of emotional and physical response by parents
  11. 11. Sexual Abuse 4. Exposure of child to sexual stimulation inappropriate for age and role • Sexual exploitation of child • Large majority of children know their perpetrator • Power imbalance over child • Touching and fondling of the genitals was the most common form from the CIS 2003 (68%)
  12. 12. Sexual Abuse • Most perpetrators of sexual abuse are known to child (parent, step- parent, neighbor) • Some characteristics of perpetrators: • Emotionally immature, narcissistic, sexually immature or psychotic, mentally delayed, drug/alcohol abuse, • 10% of children experience some type of abuse • More cases are investigated and reported • Boys more likely to be abused physically • More than twice as many girls as boys are sexually abused • 80% of sexually abused children know their abuser
  13. 13. Behaviour impacts of Sexual Abuse • Sleep disturbances • Unusual unexplained fears • Secretive relationships with older persons • Sudden dramatic change in behaviour for that child • Unusual sexual knowledge or play • Regressive behaviour
  14. 14. Responding to Others How to report abuse (see Notes to Professionals in course area for reference material)
  15. 15. Supporting a Child’s Disclosure • Allow the child to tell their story – use active listening skills, no pressure • It is not your job to investigate/gather or interpret what the child shares with you. Report the disclosure and allow the appropriate protocol and personnel to respond to the information. • Reassure the child by validating feelings, “sounds like that was scary for you”…depending on matter you may tell them you are glad they told you, that abuse is never a child’s fault, and that no one should be hurt. • Don’t criticize or speak negatively about the abusive parent • Don’t make commitments you cant keep • Follow the child’s lead
  16. 16. What to do if a child tells you of abuse or neglect? • Stay calm • Do not judge the sit’n or react emotionally • Acknowledge feelings such as feeling fear, embarrassment, guilt • Reassure the child • Explain you will help – that you will need to tell the authorities
  17. 17. What happens when you call the Children’s Aid Society… The CAS intake worker will ask the following information from the caller: • What are the family name, address and phone, if possible? • What is the name of the child(ren) of concern? • What information does the caller have? What is the cause of their concern? Why are you calling? • How do they know this information? Is it first hand or second hand?
  18. 18. What happens when you call…• How long has the issue of concern been going on? Is it current, i.e., still happening or is it about an incident(s) from the past? • If the person calling wishes to remain anonymous, CAS worker will ask what the relationship is to the child/family. This helps to assess the credibility of info • Professionals will be asked their name – doctors, teachers, day care providers are required by law to report suspected abuse • Where is the child at the time of the call, i.e., school, day care, home? • Provide any relevant background information
  19. 19. What happens next? • Once information is recorded, the case is assigned to an intake Social Worker • If it has been assessed that a child is potentially at risk – child must be seen within 12 hours of the report being made  Worker speaks to the parents  Worker ensures child is safe – will provide appropriate services to keep the child at home  If the risk is too high and cannot stay in the home – worker will look at an alternative placement with friends/relatives
  20. 20. What Next? • If there are no appropriate friends/family, parents will be asked to sign a contract for the child to be placed in temporary care of the Society, in a foster home until problems are resolved • If parents do not agree to sign the contract, the Society must apply to court for temporary guardianship
  21. 21. What happens when you call…  Private consultations are available to callers  Even a professional can ask for private consultation  Caller is able to give the scenario and why they are calling and CAS can recommend whether or not the caller should report Initiate further contact if:  You require the outcome of a report  Concerns on behalf of the child have not been understood and you require more information  Any further suspicions or concerns occur
  22. 22. Supporting parents If you tell the parent of your report:  Emphasize both concern for the child and your legal obligation to report • Respect confidentiality, even with others involved with the family • Emphasize concern for the child • Discuss your legal obligation • There is help for parents as well as the children Not informing is justified if:  your intention is to avoid or prevent further harm to the child  you think a parent might flee with the child Consult first with the CAS
  23. 23. Supporting Parents • Accept that opinions and solutions will change over time and that they parent will make decisions with which they can live • When involving social control agencies involve the non offending parent as much as possible • Allow the non offending parent to make decisions or involve them in decision making process to avoid re-victimization
  24. 24. Document… all conversationsall conversations re: disclosure, reports and CAS personnel complete with full names and phone numbers. Once you have a name and number you have a contact to call and leave messages with. Record information immediatelyimmediately, as it occurs, don’t leave it for long. Try and record disclosures or concerns verbatim.