Posts Tagged ‘ neglect ’

Parents of British Obese Boy Arrested on Child Cruelty Charges

Monday, June 9th, 2014

The parents of an 11-year-old British boy have been arrested on charges of neglect and child cruelty, prompted by concerns about the boy’s severe obesity.  More from The New York Times:

The boy, who like his parents was not identified, weighed 210 pounds. Doctors and social workers concerned about his welfare had called the police after he was brought in twice for treatment, The Sun newspaper reported on Friday.

The parents were arrested in March after being questioned by the police in King’s Lynn, in Norfolk. The father, 49, and the mother, 44, were released on bail, a police spokeswoman said.

The family was reunited, and this week, in a letter of intent, the couple agreed to improve their son’s health.

The boy is 5 feet 1 inch with a body mass index of 41.8, the newspaper reported. That is higher than what is classified as obese for an average adult male and is “very overweight” for a boy his age, according to Britain’s National Health Service.

“He’s always been big,” the father told The Sun. “He was born with shovels for hands and spades for feet. Our son’s favorite snack is steamed broccoli — and he’s still big.”

In a statement, the police said that “obesity and neglect of children” were sensitive issues, but that its child abuse investigation unit worked with health care and social service agencies to ensure a “proportionate and necessary” response.

The police said in the statement that “intervention at this level is very rare and will only occur where other attempts to protect the child have been unsuccessful.”

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1 in 8 Children Abused Before 18th Birthday, Study Finds

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

Child Abuse GirlOne in eight American children have experienced a form of abuse, according to a new study published in JAMA Pediatrics. Researchers tracked child-abuse cases of more than 5.6 million children and categorized abuse to included beatings, neglect, sexual abuse, or emotional abuse. The study reveals that girls, racial minorities, and children under the age of one had higher percentages of abuse than their counterparts. More from HealthDay.com:

More than 12 percent of kids in the United States experience beatings, neglect or sexual or emotional abuse, according to a new study.

“One in 8 American children, at some point between birth and their 18th birthday, will be maltreated,” said study researcher Christopher Wildeman, associate professor of sociology at Yale University.

Although the percentage of confirmed cases of abuse and neglect is lower than 25 years ago, it’s higher than Wildeman had anticipated. “We compulsively checked our numbers when it came back as 12 percent,” he said.

The study, published online June 2 in JAMA Pediatrics, used information from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System Child File. The database contains only confirmed reports of maltreatment.

The researchers defined confirmed maltreatment as “any report that was substantiated or indicated, meaning sufficient evidence existed for [child protective services] to conclude that abuse or neglect had occurred.”

More girls were mistreated than boys (13 percent versus 12 percent), and certain minority groups were more prone to abuse than others, the researchers said.

More than 20 percent of black children are mistreated, they found. “For Native Americans, the risk is closer to 15 percent,” Wildeman said.

For Hispanic children, the percentage is about 13 percent and for whites, close to 11 percent. “Asians had the lowest, at about 3 to 4 percent,” he said.

Risk is highest early in life, with 2 percent of children having a confirmed report by their first birthday, and nearly 6 percent by their fifth birthday, the researchers said.

However, fewer children suffer abuse now compared to several decades ago, Wildeman said. “There have been big declines in child maltreatment in the U.S. in roughly the last 25 years,” he said, citing other research.

About 80 percent of the cases the team evaluated were neglect, not abuse, he said.

The researchers tracked cases for the years 2004 through 2011, which included about 5.6 million children. They then estimated the cumulative prevalence of confirmed maltreatment by age 18.

The new numbers don’t surprise Janet Currie, a professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University in New Jersey. “Child maltreatment is a huge and underappreciated public health problem,” said Currie, who was not involved in the study.

In her own recent research, she found that child maltreatment is the leading cause of death from injuries in children older than 1 year.

Because the new report only focuses on confirmed cases, she said it might underestimate the scope of the problem. “Cases may not be confirmed for various reasons, including lack of child welfare staff available to investigate a report,’” she said.

Anyone who suspects a child is mistreated should notify their local or state child protective services or police department, experts say. “Many suspected cases are not verified, but it is better to be safe than sorry about this,” she added.

Telltale signs of abuse include unexplained bruises or burns; fear of going home; age-inappropriate behaviors such as thumb-sucking or bed-wetting, or inappropriate sexual behaviors. A child who is chronically unwashed may be neglected. Other signs of possible neglect are lack of medical or dental care or drug or alcohol abuse, experts say.

To reduce the risk of mistreatment, friends and family should be especially attentive to the needs of parents of very young children, Wildeman said. “The risk of childhood maltreatment is about four times higher in the first year than any other age,” he said, citing his research.

Having loved ones pitch in during that time might ease the burden and the stress, Wildeman said.

Protect your child from predators with these important tips!

Baby Care Basics: What is Shaken Baby Syndrome?
Baby Care Basics: What is Shaken Baby Syndrome?
Baby Care Basics: What is Shaken Baby Syndrome?

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Child Abuse Down, Neglect Up

Friday, September 13th, 2013

Physical and sexual abuse of children has declined over the past two decades, but the number of children who experience emotional abuse and neglect–mostly by their parents–is increasing.  These are the findings of a report by the Institute of Medicine, where researchers called the data a mixed blessing.  More from NBC News:

Dr. Lolita McDavid, medical director of child advocacy and protection at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, says she believes awareness explains a lot. “I think we are much more aware now that there is physical and sexual abuse and I think we do a much better job of making families and children understand that,” McDavid told NBC News.

“We are empowering children.”

But the experts say it’s vital to look into the reasons that physical abuse may be going down, yet neglect and emotional abuse are staying at the same levels. They call for sustained federal research into what’s going on and a new database to track child abuse statistics.

Even if numbers are going down, overall, many children are abused and neglected in the United States, the panel of experts reports.

“Each year more than 3 million referrals for child abuse and neglect are received that involve around 6 million children, although most of these reports are not substantiated,” the report reads.

Image: Neglected girl, via Shutterstock

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Emotional Abuse Can Be as Damaging to Kids as Physical Abuse

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Emotional or psychological abuse can be as damaging as physical or even sexual abuse, an article published in the journal Pediatrics argues.  Time.com has more:

Psychological maltreatment can include terrorizing, belittling or neglecting a child, the pediatrician authors say.

“We are talking about extremes and the likelihood of harm, or risk of harm, resulting from the kinds of behavior that make a child feel worthless, unloved or unwanted,” Harriet MacMillan, one of the three pediatrician authors, told reporters.

What makes this kind maltreatment so challenging for pediatricians and for social services staff, however, is that it’s not defined by any one specific event, but rather by the nature of the relationship between caregiver and child. That makes it unusually hard to identify.

Keeping a child in a constant state of fear is abuse, for example. But even the most loving parent will occasionally lose their cool and yell. Likewise, depriving a child of ordinary social interaction is also abuse, but there’s nothing wrong with sending a school-aged boy to stew alone in his room for an hour after he hits a younger sibling.

All of this means that, for an outsider who observes even some dubious parenting practice, it can be hard to tell whether a relationship is actually abusive, or whether you’ve simply caught a family on a bad day.

Psychological abuse can also include what you might call “corrupting a child” — encouraging children to use illicit drugs, for example, or to engage in other illegal activities.

In their Pediatrics paper, MacMillan and co-authors say that 8% to 9% of women and 4% of men reported severe psychological abuse in childhood when the question was posed in general-population surveys of the U.S. and Britain.

Image: Sad girl, via Shutterstock

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CDC: Child Abuse Costs U.S. $124 Billion Per Year

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

A single year of confirmed cases of child maltreatment–including physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, and neglect–costs the U.S. government $124 in expenses ranging from health care costs to productivity loss to criminal justice and special education costs, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says in a new report.

The report, which was published in the journal Child Abuse and Neglect, The International Journal, also found that the lifetime costs associated with each maltreated child (if that child survives) is $210,012, which is similar to the costs associated with major health problems like stroke or type 2 diabetes.

From a CDC press release:

Past research suggests that child maltreatment is a complicated problem, and so its solutions cannot be simple. An individual parent or caregiver’s behavior is influenced by a range inter-related factors such as how they were raised, their parenting skills, the level of stress in their life, and the living conditions in their community.  Because of this complexity, it is critical to invest in effective strategies that touch on all sectors of society.

“Federal, state, and local public health agencies as well as policymakers must advance the awareness of the lifetime economic impact of child maltreatment and take immediate action with the same momentum and intensity dedicated to other high profile public health problems –in order to save lives, protect the public’s health, and save money,” said Dr. Linda C. Degutis, [director of CDC′s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control].

Several programs have demonstrated reductions in child maltreatment and have great potential to reduce the human and economic toll on our society.  Several examples of effective programs include:

  • Nurse–Family Partnership, an evidence-based community health program. Partners a registered nurse with a first-time mother during pregnancy and continues through the child’s second birthday.
  • Early Start, provides coordinated, family-centered system of services:  California’s response to federal legislation providing early intervention services to infant and toddlers with disabilities and their families.
  • Triple P, a multilevel parenting and family support system:  Aims to prevent severe emotional and behavioral disturbances in children by promoting positive and nurturing relationships between parent and child.

Image: Hundred dollar bills, via Shutterstock.

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