Child Maltreatment

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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 maltre... ... middle of paper ... ...l parents as soon as the home is safe again. For some cases recurrent maltreatment occurs when the child is reunified with the biological parents or original caregivers. Children who are abused can display behavioral problems which can impact many areas in their life. They tend to act out at school and have low academic performance (Webb, 2007). They may also internalize their behavior by becoming depressed and showing symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Child maltreatment not only affects the child that is being abused, but the family system as well. Some acts of child abuse can be prosecuted with criminal charges which could result in jail time and other serious punishments. Children show the affects of their maltreatment throughout their life through their behaviors. Child abuse is a serious problem that needs to be prohibited by all agencies.
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