Term Paper: Diversity and Child Abuse Prevention

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[. . .] The discovery of child abuse in the urban industrial world and organized attention to child abuse took place more than a century ago with the foundation of the 1874 New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. This was an organization of its kind and it spread throughout American cities and into Europe. By 1910 more than 200 such societies existed in the U.S., and by 1921, formal efforts to rescue children from cruelty at the hands of their caretakers and parents lost momentum (Myers, 2008). However, by late 1950s and 1960s, the efforts got revived when child abuse became a grim social problem that instigated a flood of professional and public concern. The term child saving was useful as an umbrella characterization of social reforms for children in the late 19th century.

One of the initial child abuse cases in America that attracted considerable pubic attention encompassed a young girl called Mary Ellen. Neighbors and friends reacted to concerns of frequent beatings the young girl experienced from her adoptive parents. However, by 1874, there were no institutions accountable for handling child abuse and neglect issues. In this regard, the friends and neighbors of the girl contacted the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Myers, 2008). The friends did so after the recognition that Mary was a human being and a member of the animal kingdom. The adoptive parents were guilty of cruelty to animals and Mary shifted from their dwelling. The incident introduced gradual recognition to the fact that some type of protection and care was required for scores of abandoned and maltreated children in the nation.

Despite the fact that child abuse continued to be a key problem in the society, it was not until 1961 that once again the subject got pubic attention. For a period of numerous years, Dr. Henry Kempe studied different factors of child abuse and concern made to children whose lives were at risk. Kempe established the phrase "Battered Child Syndrome" in 1961 during a national conference organized to tackle issues linked to the cruel treatment of children. This followed by the establishment of (CAPTA) Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act in 1974, January (Myers, 2008). The act signified a turning point in the history of child neglect and abuse. It drew attention of the public to the concern of child maltreatment and eventually led to the creation of the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect, and needed states to introduce a central agency with legal power to investigate and prosecute occurrence of child neglect and abuse.

The act also required states to form procedures, definitions, laws, policies that tackled these problems. In 1996, CAPTA got amendments and reauthorized to more defined circumstances linked to the withholding of medical treatment critical situations (Myers, 2008). Modifications made in 2003 needed states to extend their services to encompass adoption, family violence prevention, abandoned infants and foster care (Stalker, 2012). Even though child neglect and abuse occurred throughout the history, it is only presently that public attention acknowledged the enormity of this problem. Professionals are now recognizing the entire impact and long-term effects of child maltreatment on a child's development.

The history of child abuse shows how ineffective perspectives to child abuse in the ancient times has only contributed to the rise of child abuse cases in the modern society (Fallon et al., 2011). Apparently, in 1800s, there were no agencies for child protection, but interestingly agencies for animal protection existed. The first and the most agonizing case of child abuse reported to New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals considered Mary, the child abuse victim as a species of the animal kingdom (Stalker, 2012). Perhaps the first recognized child abuse case should have called for immediate formation of child protection agencies. However, after the first reported incident, it took the society several years to establish the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act in 1974 following the 1961 regained attention of child abuse in the society. While Mary's case took place in 1874, the authority established the first child protection Act in 1974 when already child abuse and neglect had become a social and public health issue. In this regard, in effective approach to child abuse and neglect worsened the condition and impacts of child abuse to a child, family and the entire society.

Current Issue in Child Abuse Protections Services

The United States particularly, New York State is a multicultural society with a rich diversity of languages, ethnicities, cultures and religions. The governing authority at state level have build up multicultural policy blueprints which intend to handle the requirements of refugees and migrants who settle in the country (Hunt & Walsh, 2011). Nevertheless, child protection legislation and policy blueprints lack integration of necessary multicultural strategies capable of enhancing the effectiveness of child protection services. The scope for child abuse in the United States is epidemic regardless of ethnicity, gender or social class (Larsen & Nguyen, 2008). The data on occurrence of child abuse and neglect comes from two major sources, which include health and legal sectors. The two sectors however, speak divergent languages when describing the issue of sexual abuse and maltreatment suffered by children.

The main causes of child abuse include histories of psycho-affective deprivation, physical, neglect or sexual abuse as children. Family crisis and isolation of a family from community support systems also triggers child abuse (Chan, 2012). In this view, the most productive policies should aim at improving living conditions, positive child rearing, post-partum visits, educating caregivers and parents, working on peace conflict resolution and early detention of child abuse (Fallon, Trocme & MacLaurin, 2011). Comprehensive culturally and public policies that integrated the functions protection, legal and health sectors are paramount. Nevertheless, these policies are not apparent in New York child protection policies. Despite being a city with diverse people, cultural competency lacks in handling child abuse and neglect. This sad state of affairs appears even worse when one puts into consideration the communities whose residents find them-selves in the child protection system. This includes the immigrants, the poor and disproportionate numbers of Native American families and African-American.

Regrettably, the advocacy groups for ethnic populations such as NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) do not advocate for ethnic families affected by child abuse as they often steer away from concerns that carry any social stigma with an example of AIDs and child abuse. From this prospect, the upshots of not preventing child abuse are felt disproportionately in ethnic minority and poor communities (Larsen & Nguyen, 2008). More children get physical and emotional injuries leaving more families torn asunder and more children placed in juvenile detention or foster care while more adults face incarceration for preventable actions (Chan, 2012).

There is lack of information regarding how to attain cultural competency in child abuse prevention to deal with the diverse needs of diverse people in the society. This calls for expansion of cultural sensitive programs. The most effective prevention programs should target the special needs of the populations they aim to control (Fallon, Trocme & MacLaurin, 2011). In New York and most parts of the United States, "child abuse" prevention programs are remarkably generic in the sense that their development favors the majority racial group without concern for cultural differences. Lack of cultural specific programs for diverse population leaving in the United States and other countries blocks the success of prevention efforts (Larsen & Nguyen, 2008). Child abuse prevention requires development of a positive relationship and not simple deliverance of a product (Fallon et al., 2011). However, the major relationships between prevention professionals and caretakers are achievable when approach to the affected families is appropriate to a specific circumstance and culture (Kung, 2004). In this regard, child abuse and neglect remain to be common in the society because of ineffective means of preventing it. Lack of cultural specific policies and an understanding that the society comprises of people from different backgrounds, languages, religions, ethnicity, gender and age fail the efforts of child abuse preventive measures. The minority people in the country do not benefit from the established protocols and programs of child abuse prevention (Kung, 2004).

Just like in New York states and other states in the United States, the Australian "child abuse" prevention program does not necessarily incorporate multicultural policies in its child protection practice, legislation and policy blueprints (Hunt & Walsh, 2011). In this view, the program does not offer culturally and linguistically diverse policies to the different cultures in the country. The Australian Child Protection system is therefore ineffective for lack of cultural specific programs. While risk aspects common to all families living in Australia are prevalent, culturally and linguistically diverse society experiences distinctive risk facets and conflicts that are worth when handled distinctively. Parents from CALD cannot benefit from community education programs aimed at preventing child abused because of language and other cultural barriers (Hunt & Walsh, 2011). As… [END OF PREVIEW]

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