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decorative star graphic  The Play Years:
Biosocial Development
- Child Maltreatment -

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Ψ  How is Child Maltreatment Defined by Law?

Ψ  The Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), (42 U.S.C.A 5106g), as amended, provides the following definitions.

      •  A child is a person who has not attained the lesser of:

•  The age of 18; or
•  Except in cases of sexual abuse, the age specified by the child protection law of the State in which the child resides.

Ψ  Child abuse & neglect is, at a minimum:

•  Any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation; or
•  An act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm.

    Ψ  There are four major types of maltreatment: physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse. While State definitions may vary, operational definitions include the following:

Physical Abuse is characterized by the infliction of physical injury as a result of punching, beating, kicking, biting, burning, shaking or otherwise harming a child. The parent or caretaker may not have intended to hurt the child; rather, the injury may have resulted from over-discipline or physical punishment.

Child Neglect is characterized by failure to provide for the child's basic needs. Neglect can be physical, educational, or emotional. Physical neglect includes refusal of, or delay in, seeking health care; abandonment; expulsion from the home or refusal to allow a runaway to return home; and inadequate supervision. Educational neglect includes the allowance of chronic truancy, failure to enroll a child of mandatory school age in school, and failure to attend to a special educational need. Emotional neglect includes such actions as marked inattention to the child's needs for affection; refusal of or failure to provide needed psychological care; spouse abuse in the child's presence; and permission of drug or alcohol use by the child. The assessment of child neglect requires consideration of cultural values and standards of care as well as recognition that the failure to provide the necessities of life may be related to poverty.

Sexual Abuse includes fondling a child's genitals, intercourse, incest, rape, sodomy, exhibitionism, and commercial exploitation through prostitution or the production of pornographic materials. Many experts believe that sexual abuse is the most under-reported form of child maltreatment because of the secrecy or "conspiracy of silence" that so often characterizes these cases.

Emotional Abuse (psychological/verbal abuse/mental injury) includes acts or omissions by the parents or other caregivers that have caused, or could cause, serious behavioral, cognitive, emotional, or mental disorders. In some cases of emotional abuse, the acts of parents or other caregivers alone, without any harm evident in the child's behavior or condition, are sufficient to warrant child protective services (CPS) intervention. For example, the parents/caregivers may use extreme or bizarre forms of punishment, such as confinement of a child in a dark closet. Less severe acts, such as habitual scapegoating, belittling, or rejecting treatment, are often difficult to prove and, therefore, CPS may not be able to intervene without evidence of harm to the child.

fyi  Although any of the forms of child maltreatment may be found separately, they often occur in combination. Emotional abuse is almost always present when other forms are identified.

Ψ  Two aspects of the cultural & community context seem universally conductive to maltreatment: Poverty & Social isolation.

    Ψ  Physical abuse & all forms of neglect fall most heavily on children under  6 who have the following risk factors;

•  two or more siblings
 •  an unemployed or absent father
  •  A mother who did not complete high school
   •  A home in a poor, high-crime neighborhood

It's a Mickey Mouse World , isn't it?

Ψ  Consequences of Child Maltreatment: Impairs a child's

•  learning.
 •  self-esteem.
  •  social relationships.
   •  emotional control.

fyi  Intergeneration transmission of maltreatment is a fallacy!
--- 70% of people that have been abused do not abuse ---

Growth & Development
Robert C. Gates
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