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Child Maltreatment Essay

2917 words - 12 pages

Child maltreatment is a widespread issue that affects thousands of children every year. There are four common types of child maltreatment; sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse and neglect. All of these types of abuse are very serious and can have many consequences for the children and families. The most common consequence of severe child maltreatment is the removal of that child from their home (Benbenishty, Segev, Surkis, and Elias, 2002). Most social workers trying to determine the likelihood of removal evaluate the type and severity of abuse, as well as the child’s relationship with their parents (Benbenishty et al., 2002). When children are removed from their homes there are many options of alternative housing. The places they are allowed to live are a relative’s home, foster home, or a group home. In a study of children removed from their homes, 68% went to a foster home rather than a relative or another form of alternative housing (Faller, 1991). Reunification with a parent is the most common goal that is set forth by Child Protective Services even though recurrent abuse is likely to happen based upon the prior type of abuse and the age of the child (Connell et al., 2009). Child maltreatment is becoming a prevalent problem that has numerous consequences for both the child and family.
The Center of Disease Control and prevention defines child abuse as any act or series of events that results in harm, potential harm or threatens the child’s safety (Webb, 2007). While many people believe that child maltreatment is simply physical many other forms of maltreatment occur; sexual abuse, neglect and abandonment are also common forms of abuse. Domestic Violence is also included in the definition of child maltreatment. Domestic Violence exposure can consist of a child who sees an adult being assaulted, hears screams, crying, offensive language, objects being thrown or broken, or sees the outcome of an abusive incident (Coohey, 2007). Many children are forced to live with domestic violence because one of their parents refuses to leave the relationship. In cases of women being victims of domestic violence and failing to leave the male offender, the women are also identified as offenders and are charged with failing to protect their children from avoidable harm, regardless of the limited choices they have (Friend et al., 2008). Although domestic violence occurred in 35% of the 1,248 substantiated incidents of child maltreatment, only 31 couples were investigated for exposing a child to domestic violence or not protecting their children from the violence (Coohey, 2007). In Minnesota the parent is said to endanger the child’s mental or physical health when the child is exposed to domestic violence. When police are contacted about a domestic violence incident the investigators need to consider all types of failure to protect the child, as well as the likelihood of a domestic violence incident occurring again (Coohey, 2007). In...

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