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Issues in Child abuse & Neglect . How to define? Who gets to define? Where to draw the line? What to do about it?. Types of Abuse. Other. Neglect. Emotional. Sexual. Physical. Physical Abuse. “Knowingly inflicts cruel and inhuman punishment upon a child”

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Issues in Child abuse & Neglect

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issues in child abuse neglect

Issues in Child abuse & Neglect

How to define?

Who gets to define?

Where to draw the line?

What to do about it?

types of abuse
Types of Abuse






physical abuse
Physical Abuse
  • “Knowingly inflicts cruel and inhuman punishment upon a child”
  • BUT “discipline including spanking, administered in a reasonable manner, shall not be construed to be abuse” RS Mo 210.110
sexual abuse
Sexual Abuse
  • Fondling a child's genitals, intercourse, incest, rape, sodomy, exhibitionism, and commercial exploitation through prostitution or the production of pornographic materials.
  • Primary issues are ones of proof
emotional abuse
Emotional Abuse
  • Acts or omissions by the parents or other caregivers that have caused, or could cause, serious behavioral, cognitive, emotional, or mental disorders.
  • Line-drawing and causation are primary issues
neglect physical neglect
Neglect: Physical Neglect
  • Refusal of, or delay in, seeking health care;
  • Abandonment; expulsion from the home or refusal to allow a runaway to return home; and
  • Inadequate supervision.
educational neglect
Educational Neglect
  • allowance of chronic truancy,
  • failure to enroll a child of mandatory school age in school, and
  • failure to attend to a special educational need.
emotional neglect
Emotional neglect
  • marked inattention to the child's needs for affection;
  • refusal of or failure to provide needed psychological care;
  • spouse abuse in the child's presence; and
  • permission of drug or alcohol use by the child.
neglect issues
Neglect issues
  • “Fault” v. “Protection”
  • Risk of bias
  • Numbers overall depend on definitions
  • 160,000 severe injuries annually
  • 1,000 to 2,000 children die annually
  • Future consequences include increased risks of substance abuse, mental health problems, criminal activity, and abuse of their own children and spouse
who are the children gender
Who are the children? : Gender


who are the children race
Who are the children? : Race





who are the abusers
Who are the abusers?

Parents and Family (75-85%)

Under age 40 (80%)

Substance abuse (50-80%)

Both male and female (though varies by type of abuse)

Anyone can abuse a child.



Complex interaction of many factors

community society
  • High crime rate
  • Lack of or few social services
  • High poverty rate (Poverty is the most frequently and persistently noted risk factor for child abuse)
  • High unemployment rate
parental characteristics
Parental characteristics
  • History of abuse or violence
  • Youth, Emotional immaturity, poor parenting skills
  • Single parent or few social supports
  • Poor coping skills, Low self-esteem
  • Substance abuse
  • Unwanted pregnancy; multiple young children
child characteristics
Child characteristics
  • Prematurity
  • Low birth weight
  • Handicap
additional factors
Additional factors

Cultural/Religious Norms - “Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child”

Triggering Event -

“Discipline” gone awry

Substance Abuse

Family Conflict

child abuse neglect

Child Abuse & Neglect

any physical injury, sexual abuse, or emotional abuse of child

other than by accidental means

by those responsible for the child’s care, custody and control,

except reasonable discipline

neglect failure to provide
Neglect: failure to provide
  • proper or necessary support,
  • education as required by law,
  • nutrition or medical, surgical or
  • any other care necessary for well being
  • by those responsible for the care, custody, and control of the child
r s mo 210 110 abuse
R.S.Mo. 210.110 Abuse
  • “any physical injury, sexual abuse, or emotional abuse inflicted on a child other than by accidental means by those responsible for the child’s care, custody and control”
  • “discipline including spanking, administered in a reasonable manner, shall not be construed to be abuse.”
what is reasonable discipline
What is Reasonable Discipline?
  • Raboin v. North Dakota Department of Human Services
  • Should the United States sign the Convention on the Rights of the Child?
child abuse reporting statute
Child Abuse Reporting Statute
  • Definition of Abuse 210.110
  • Reporters : Mandatory/Voluntary 210.115
  • Immunity/Penalty for Reporters 210.135-165
  • Privileges waived 210.140
  • Investigation/Assessment 210.145
  • Findings 210.145
  • Central Registry 210.152
  • Alleged Perpetrator’s rights 210.152 /183
should everyone be a mandated reporter
Should everyone be a mandated reporter?
  • Mo. SB 627 - This act would provide that any person who has reasonable cause to suspect child abuse shall be required to immediately report the suspected abuse to the division. This act also adds an enhanced penalty for failing to report child abuse from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class D felony when the child at issue dies as a result of the abuse or neglect.
how does the legal system respond

How does the legal system respond?

Criminal Prosecution

Private Civil Actions

Juvenile/Family Court Intervention

juvenile court jurisdiction
Juvenile Court Jurisdiction
  • Delinquency
  • Status Offenders
  • Abuse & Neglect
  • Adoption
  • Hot Line reports
  • Require investigation
  • Protective Custody
  • Reunification Plans
  • Referrals for Termination of Parental Rights
termination of parental rights procedure
Termination of Parental Rights - Procedure
  • Juvenile Officer Investigates and files or gives notice of intent not to file petition
  • Family Court may order Juvenile officer to file
due process in tpr cases
Due Process in TPR Cases
  • The standard of proof in all termination of parental rights cases is by clear, cogent and convincing
  • (See Santosky v. Kramer for analysis)
  • Parents have right to counsel by statute but not necessarily under constitution (See Lassiter)
termination by consent
Termination by Consent
  • Written, witnessed parental consent, reviewed and approved by judge
  • Judge determines that termination is in the best interests of the child
  • May also occur through an adoption petition
mandatory filing for involuntary termination
Mandatory Filing for Involuntary Termination
  • Foster care for 15 of past 22 months
  • Abandoned infant
  • Certain criminal acts by a parent (e.g.,murder or felony assault with serious injury of another child)
common reasons for foster care
Common reasons for foster care
  • Parent is incarcerated
  • Parent has a substance abuse problem; or
  • A compelling reason that filing would not be in BIC; or
  • The child is being cared for by a relative;
  • The family has not been provided sufficient reunification services
  • Parent has a mental condition which impairs his or her ability to adequately provide for the child
additional bases for tpr
Additional Bases for TPR
  • Abandonment (actual or constructive)
  • Abuse & Neglect
  • Failure to Rectify conditions that brought child under family court authority
  • Conviction/Guilty plea to certain sexual crimes
  • Parent is “Unfit”
parental abandonment
Parental Abandonment
  • six months or longer,
  • Unknown identity (or)
  • left the child without any provision for parental support and visits/ communication
abuse neglect for tpr
Abuse & Neglect for TPR
  • A permanent mental condition which renders parent unfit
  • A chemical dependency which renders parent unfit and can’t be treated adequately
  • Severe or recurrent acts of physical, emotional or sexual abuse
  • repeatedly or continuously failed to provide the child with adequate food, clothing, shelter, education, or other care
failure to rectify
Failure to Rectify
  • The terms of the social service plan and the extent of progress in compliance
  • Agency assistance to parent
  • Parent’s a mental condition
  • Parent’s chemical dependency
parental unfitness
Parental “Unfitness”
  • a consistent pattern of committing child abuse or drug abuse before the child; or
  • parental rights were involuntarily terminated within three years immediately prior to the requested termination with regard to the current child.
  • the child’s emotional ties to the parent
  • The parent’s interest, commitment, contact and support of child
  • Possibility of reunification in ascertainable time with more services
  • Length of incarceration
  • deliberate harmful acts of parent or another with parent’s knowledge
sexual abuse1
Sexual Abuse
  • Most abusers are related or live in the home
  • Unlike physical abuse, not spontaneous, but seduction
  • Perpetrator often convinces himself that child wants to participate
  • Perpetrators threaten child to remain quiet
effects of sexual abuse on child
Effects of Sexual Abuse on Child
  • Pervasive guilt
  • Acting out, often sexually
  • Knowledge of sexual matters beyond age
  • Difficult to sustain true fabrication
child sexual abuse accommodation syndrome
Child sexual abuse accommodation syndrome
  • Secrecy
  • Helplessness
  • Entrapment
  • Delayed, conflicting and unconvincing disclosures
  • Retraction