Child Abuse is something that happens a lot more than people realize it does. It is actually a huge problem in today’s society and can actually have a lot of detrimental effects on the child’s performance in school. According to the Encyclopedia of Social Work there are more than 3 million reports concerning maltreatment of 6 million children (Davis, 2008). Throughout history they focused on children who were orphans rather than focus on their maltreatment. And by the late 1800’s agencies had established to help protect children from maltreatment and abuse in their own homes. For example, in Philadelphia children were being pulled from their homes if the family was too poor or too violent to care for their children.
These agencies were developed to protect children from their caretakers who were abusing them. These agencies were supported by both public and private funds because there were no ordinances that were prohibiting the maltreatment of children. Until the year of 1974 there had been no prior federal laws that enforced national standards. Many of the laws during the 1960’s, called the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act of 1974(CAPTA) were only started because of a public outcry that followed a documented child abuse through x-rays and multiple fractures found on children’s scans. CAPTA then implemented that there be mandated reporting of maltreatment by professionals and if there is a report there has to be an investigation. The definition of child maltreatment focuses on three major forms of abuse, them being physical abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect.
Child abuse and neglect are also defined by the fact that the maltreatment is being done by a parent or caretaker. “’CAPTA, “as amended by the Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of 2003, defines child abuse and neglect as: (1) any 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 (2) an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm” (Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2006).’” (Davis, 2008). The definitions of child maltreatment and neglect haven’t really changed over the years. More services such as Child and Youth Services and Child Protective Services have been created. There have been about 3.3 million referrals to CPS that involves as many 6 million children in between the United States and Puerto Rico.
About 30% of those reports were actually substantial abuse cases of abuse. It is found that younger children tend to be maltreated were as older children are more likely to be neglected. More females are maltreated than males and more males are killed or seriously injured and children who have a single parent’s home are more likely to be abused. These statistics are very interesting because often times you wouldn’t think that things as small as your gender or living situation would impact if you were abused or not. Research shows that American Indians, Alaskan Natives, and Pacific Islanders are overly represented because of their representation of population. Sometimes people get confused and report people because of lack of food, shelter, and clothing all due to not having enough money and not because they are being abused.
A lot of abuse and neglect come from parental drug problems, parental mental health problems, young parents, child behavior issues, child with disabilities, and lack of support. Every type of abuse is different because everybody’s situation is different. The way that an environment is structured could also lead to a child having an increased risk of being abused such as poverty, low wages, substance abuse, and racism. When working with children you have to be very careful because anything could trigger them. They have been abused and maltreated by people that they thought they could trust so they have little to no trust for anyone because everyone who they trusted ended up hurting them. Being a social worker in these types of cases can be extremely hard. As social workers we have to look at both sides of the issue meaning how we can improve the awareness of child abuse and understanding the underlying social issues leading up to the abuse. We need to be more aware especially when children are in schools because that is when we will be able to notice the odd behavior the most.
Academic success is a very important part of transitioning from youth to young adult and from young adult to an adult. Often times if children are abused, they tend to struggle academically and that can negatively impact their outcome in life. In recent studies they could not get a clear result because they used random groups of students. This new study focuses on students who had similar problems such as poverty, family characteristics, social and peer influences, and neighborhoods. It was found that even in the primary years of school children who experience agencies being involved in their life, tend to be delayed and causes them to sometimes be held back. A lot of children in school who are experiencing problems in their home experience frequent moves and changes which ultimately makes it difficult to succeed in school. If a child isn’t getting the proper nutrients and attention, they need it will impact their performance in school. They found that cognitive and language delays are a greater risk in children who are abused. On average children who are abused tend to be at least half a year behind in school. It is isn’t uncommon to see that the mistreated children often miss a lot of school and fall behind because of it. It is important that we have programs that help students who are behind. They cannot help that they are put into the situation that they are in, so we need to help them in every way that we can. Often times parents who have been abused in the past will abuse their children and not even realize they are doing it because that is how their parents taught them.
Dealing with child abuse can be very difficult especially if you are a social worker. Having to go into people’s homes and sometimes taking children away from their parents, even though it may not be the right thing in your mind, is very hard. As a future educator it is hard to see that these children are being abused and that they are not getting the best of their schooling because of their parents. Academic success is a huge part of what the future of a child looks like. A lot of children who are abused in their younger days have a difficult time dealing with the emotions and over coming the trauma from their youth. A lot of high schoolers who had a history of being abused have behavioral problems and often drop out of school. It is important to be aware of this and do everything we can as social workers and educators to help these innocent children out who have no control over their situation.
Throughout history the definition of child abuse has changed, and it has definitely helped save children from being abused. It is important for people to have an idea of what to look for and when to report child abuse because it could save children’s lives. Having an idea of how to deal and help children cope with abuse is essential to helping these children. Without all these laws about child abuse and reporting there would be a lot of undocumented reports of child abuse and a lot of children who would be very hurt. As social workers our goal is to help people and advocate for them. As a social worker for children we have to advocate what’s best for them because sometimes the children can’t even talk yet. Child abuse is a serious crime and it can not only impact the child emotionally but mentally and physically as well. Noticing the signs and trying to help these children will help save their lives so they can get out of the situation that they are in. Child abuse is something that is so common today that sometimes we don’t realize it. If we do realize it, we need to make sure we are doing something about it because these children are our future. History has definitely changed the way child abuse is looked at and that’s good because now all of these kids can be protected. Children are the future face of the country and we need to make sure that we as a whole are doing everything, we can to protect them.