Strengthening Families & Communities to Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect 2005 OHCE Leader Lesson Debbie Richardson Child Development Assistant Specialist
Objectives • Current facts related to child abuse and neglect. • Risk and protective factors relevant to abuse and neglect. • Effective prevention strategies for children, youth, families, and communities.
Who is affected by abuse and neglect? • Children from all communities, races/ethnicities, and socioeconomic backgrounds • Child abuse and neglect shows strong links with drug/alcohol use, teen pregnancy, violence, health problems, & academic failure, incarceration, and other poor outcomes.
Investigated and Confirmed Child Abuse and Neglect Oklahoma, 1994-2004(Source: Department of Human Services)Fiscal Year 2004: Investigated 60,770 Confirmed 12,347
Confirmed Child Abuse and Neglect by Category, Oklahoma, 2003Source: Department of Human Services, Children and Family Services Division
In Oklahoma • Over half of confirmed cases of child abuse or neglect are children under age 6. • An average of 37 children die due to maltreatment each year. Over half are infants. • Neglect most commonly confirmed (82%), followed by physical abuse (13%), and sexual abuse (5%). • An average of 6,500 Oklahoma children are in foster care each day. Source: Oklahoma Department of Human Services
Child abuse and neglect occurs most often in the hands of the people responsible for a child’s safety and well-being…. • Mothers 50% • Fathers 25% • Stepparents 8% • Grandparents 3% • All other categories 13%
Costs of Child Maltreatment in the U.S. • Estimated $258 million per day • Averages about $1500 per U.S. family per year • Spent on services such as health and mental health care, foster care, child protective services, juvenile facilities, & special education. Source: Prevent Child Abuse America
4 Categories of Child Abuse • Neglect • Physical abuse • Sexual abuse • Emotional abuse Although sometimes separate, they often occur together.
Oklahoma Child Abuse and Neglect Definitions • Harm or threatened harm to a child’s health or safety by a person responsible for the child’s health and safety, includes sexual abuse and sexual exploitation • Includes non-accidental physical abuse, mental injury, sexual abuse or exploitation, or neglect • A child is any person under the age of 18
Mandatory Reporting “Every physician or surgeon, registered nurse, teacher and other person, who has reason to believe that a child under 18 is a victim of abuse or neglect shall report the suspicion of abuse promptly to the county Oklahoma Department of Human Services office wherein the suspected abuse or neglect occurred.” 1-800-522-3511 Statewide Hotline
Lack of, or inappropriate, parenting skills Limited child development knowledge Unrealistic expectations of child behavior and capabilities Pregnancy or child is unwanted or unexpected Special needs child Parent’s negative childhood experiences Social isolation, lack of support Stress of poverty or unemployment Drug or alcohol abuse Violence &/or conflict between partners Mental health problems Potential Risk Factors
Prevention • To stop child abuse and neglect from happening in the first place. • Requires a comprehensive approach. • Strengthening & empowering families is essential.
Key Strategies to Prevent Child Abuse • Support programs for new parents • Education for parents – home visits, groups • Early and regular child and family screening • Life skills training for children and young adults • Family support services – warmlines, respite & crisis child care, counseling, peer support, etc. • Quality child care • Treatment for abused children • Public information and education
Promoting Protective Factors • Facilitate friendships and social support • Strengthen parenting • Link families to services • Value and support parents and children • Facilitate children’s social and emotional development • Observe and respond to early warning signs of abuse and neglect
How does your community support families? • Family support and parent education programs • Fatherhood programs • Substance abuse prevention/treatment • Stress & coping • Child advocacy • Shelters & foster homes
You Have the Power to Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect • Understand the problem • Support programs that support families • Report suspected abuse and neglect • Spread the word - educate others • Strengthen the fabric of your community • Reach out to overburdened families • Be ready to respond in a crisis • Be a support or mentor for a child
Potential Prevention Partners • FCS, 4-H, and OHCE programs • Local parenting & family support programs • Child care providers, schools & educators • Health and social service agencies • Libraries and hospitals • Tribal agencies and programs • Business leaders, policy makers • Civic organizations, faith groups • Child Abuse Prevention Task Forces & other community coalitions
Community Involvement • Address the issue • Blue Ribbon Campaign • Reach out to parents • Involve local faith communities • Involve men and fathers • Involve local schools • Distribute educational resources
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month
Debbie Richardson, M.S. Child Development Assistant Specialist Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service 405-744-6231 email@example.com www.fcs.okstate.edu