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Child Abuse Prevention And Foster Care

2403 words - 10 pages

Child abuse is the physical or emotional abuse of a child by a parent, guardian, or other person. Reports of child abuse, including sexual abuse, beating, and murder, have jumped in the United States and some authorities believe that the number of cases is largely under reported. Child neglect is also included in legal definitions of child abuse to cover instances of malnutrition, desertion, and inadequate care of a child's safety. When reported, inadequate foster care services and a legal system that has trouble accommodating the suggestible nature of children, who are often developmentally unable to distinguish fact from make-believe, complicate child abuse cases
During the years of 1985 and 1996, there was a 50 percent increase in reported cases of child abuse. In 1996, three million cases of child abuse are reported in the United States each year. Also that same year some twelve hundred children died from abuse across the country. Treatment of the abuser has had only limited success and child protection agencies are overwhelmed. Recently, efforts have begun to focus on the primary prevention of child abuse. Primary prevention of child abuse must be equipped on many levels before it can be successful. Prevention, on the social level is very important and could possibly save a life. According the American Humane Association prevention should include widening the financial self-sufficiency of families, discouraging corporal punishment and other ways of violence. Making health care more available and affordable, increasing and developing coordination of social services, evolving the identification and treatment of psychological problems, and alcohol and drug abuse, providing more affordable child care and preventing the birth of unwanted children. Prevention plans on the family level include helping parents meet their basic needs, identifying problems of substance abuse and spouse abuse, and educating parents about child behavior, discipline, safety and development. In the case of child abuse, primary prevention is defined as any intervention designed for the purpose of preventing child abuse before it occurs.
In 1993, three million children in the United States were reported to have been abused. Thirty-five percent of these cases of child abuse were confirmed. Data from various reporting sources indicates that improved reporting could lead to a significant increase in the number of cases of child abuse verified by child protection agencies. The lack of verification does not indicate that abuse did not occur, only that it could not be verified. The facts are that each year 160,000 children suffer severe or life-threatening injury and 1,000 to 2,000 children die as a result of abuse. Of these deaths, 80 percent involve children younger than five years of age, and 40 percent involve children younger than one year of age. One out of every 20-murder victim is a child. Murder is the fourth leading cause of death in children from one to four years...

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