Child abuse: opposing viewpoints by Louise I. Gerdes

By Louise I. Gerdes

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Extra resources for Child abuse: opposing viewpoints

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They are the most vulnerable and endangered individuals in America. That is the grim conclusion of an exhaustive two-year analysis by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. Parental alcohol and drug abuse and addiction have pushed the nation’s system of child welfare to the brink of collapse. 9 percent increase in the overall children’s population. S. Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect sets the actual number much higher, at 2,000, a rate of more than five deaths a day.

Also, children who have increased dependency on caregivers for their physical needs may be accustomed to having their bodies touched by adults on a regular basis. Children with disabilities who require multiple caregivers or providers may have contact with numerous individuals, thereby increasing the opportunity for abuse. However, an advantage to having a large number of caregivers is that not only may someone detect the injuries or signs of abuse, but also the amount of stress placed on the primary caregiver is decreased.

Child welfare systems and practices need a complete overhaul. Social service providers, from agency directors to frontline child welfare workers, judges, court clerks, masters, lawyers, and health and social service staffs need intensive training in the nature and detection of substance abuse and what to do when they spot it. In all investigations of child abuse and neglect, parents should be screened and assessed for substance abuse. Caseworkers and judges should move rapidly to place children for adoption when parents refuse treatment or fail to respond to it.

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