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PSYCH 441SPRING 2022
TERMS FOR TINA AND HER FAMILY CASE DISCUSSION
N E GLE C T AN D ABU S E
• Neglect: The harming of children through lack of proper physical and emotional care and/or inadequate supervision.
• Abuse: The non-accidental injury of a child by a parent or other responsible caregiver.
MASSACHUSETTS DEPARTMENT OF
CHI LD AND FAMI LY SERVI CES
• If you know or suspect that a child is being abused or neglected, please report it immediately.
• Anyone can file a report of abuse or neglect.• Professionals like teachers, nurses, or police officers whose
work brings them in contact with children are mandated reporters.
• This definition is not dependent upon location. Abuse can occur while the child is in an out-of-home or an in-home setting.
• The non-accidental commission of any act by a caregiver which causes or creates a substantial risk of physical or emotional injury or sexual abuse of a child; or
• The victimization of a child through sexual exploitation or human trafficking, regardless if the person responsible is a caregiver
C AREGIVER DEFINITION
• A child’s parent, stepparent, guardian, or any household member entrusted with the responsibility for a child’s health or welfare
• Any other person entrusted with responsibility for a child’s welfare, whether in the child’s home, a relative’s home, a school setting, a child caresetting (including babysitting), a foster home, a group care facility, or any other comparable setting. As such “caregiver” includes, but is not limited to:
• School teachers
• School bus drivers
• Camp counselors
The “caregiver” definition should be construed broadly and inclusively to encompass any person who at the time in question is entrusted with a degree of responsibility for the child. This specifically includes a caregiver who is him/herself a child such as a babysitter under age 18.
T Y P E S O F A B U S E
• Physical injury definition: Death, fracture of a bone, subdural hematoma, burns, impairment of any organ, soft tissue swelling, skin bruising and any other such nontrivial injury depending upon such factors as the child’s age, circumstances under which the injury occurred, and the number and location of bruises.
• Emotional injury definition: An impairment to or disorder of the intellectual or psychological capacity of a child as evidenced by an observable and substantial reduction in the child’s ability to function with a normal range of performance and behavior.
• Sexual abuse definition: Any non-accidental act by a caregiver upon a child that constitutes a sexual offense under the laws of the Commonwealth or any sexual contact between a caregiver and a child for whom the caregiver is responsible.
• See mass.gov website for sexual and human trafficking and other forms of abuse
N E G L E C T
• Failure by a caregiver, either deliberately or through negligence or inability, to take those actions necessary to provide a child with minimally adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care, supervision, emotional stability and growth, or other essential care, including malnutrition or failure to thrive; provided, however, that such inability is not due solely to inadequate economic resources or solely to the existence of a handicapping condition.
S U B S TA N C E E X P O S E D N E W B O R N ( S E N )
• A newborn who was exposed to alcohol or other drugs ingested by the mother in utero, whether or not this exposure is detected at birth through a drug screen or withdrawal symptoms. A SEN may also be experiencing Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS), which are symptoms and signs exhibited by a newborn due to drug withdrawal. NAS is a subset of SEN. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) as diagnosed by a qualified licensed medical professional is also a subset of SEN.
S H A K E N B A B Y S Y N D RO M E
• Infants, babies or small children who suffer injuries or death from severe shaking, jerking, pushing or pulling may have been victims of shaken baby syndrome (abusive head trauma). The act of shaking a baby is considered physical abuse, as spinal, head and neck injuries often result from violently shaking young children. It has been estimated that 50 percent of children who are victims of shaken baby syndrome die from their injuries.
OF THE CHILD
• Although there is no stanard definition of “best interests of the child,” the term generally refers to the deliberation that courts undertake when deciding what type of services, actions, and orders will best serve a child as well as who is best suited to take care of a child.
• “Best interests” determinations are generally made by considering a number of factors related to the child's circumstances and the parent or caregiver's circumstances and capacity to parent, with the child's ultimate safety and well-being the paramount concern.
• Source for this slide and related information:• Determining the Best Interest of the Child_2020_Child
Welfare.gov, pp. 1-4
BEST INTEREST FACTORS
• Approximately 22 States and the District of Columbia list in their statutes specific factors for courts to consider in making determinations regarding the best interests of the child.5 While the factors vary considerably from State to State, some factors commonly required include the following:
• The emotional ties and relationships between the child and his or her parents, siblings, family and household members, or other caregivers (15 States and the District of Columbia)6
• The capacity of the parents to provide a safe home and adequate food, clothing, and medical care (10 States)7
• The mental and physical health needs of the child (nine States and the District of Columbia)8
• The statutes in most States use a broad definition of what constitutes reasonable efforts. Generally, these efforts consist of accessible, available, and culturally appropriate services that are designed to improve the capacity of families to provide safe and stable homes for their children.
• Some commonly used terms associated with reasonable efforts include “family reunification,” “family preservation,” “family support,” and “preventive services.”
• These services may include family therapy, parenting classes, treatment for substance use, respite care, parent support groups, and home visiting programs.
• Reasonable efforts also refer to the activities of caseworkers, including safety checks and home visits, that are performed on an ongoing basis to ensure that parents and other family members are participating in needed services and are making progress on case plan goals.
FAMI LY PRESERVATI ON: REASONABLE EFFORTS TO
REUNI FY FAMI LI ES OR TO
ACHI EVE PERMANENCY
• Federal law has long required State agencies to demonstrate they made reasonable efforts to provide assistance and services to prevent the removal of a child from his or her home and to make it possible for a child who has been placed in out-of-home care to be reunited with his or her family.
• “Reasonable efforts” are services and supports that are provided by the child welfare agency to assist a family in addressing the problems that place a child at risk of harm with the goal of preventing the need for substitute care or reducing the time the child must stay in an out-of-home placement.
• Source: Reasonable Efforts to Preserve or Reunify Families and Achieve Permanency for Children
W H E N R E A S O N A B L E E F F O RT S A R E
R E Q U I R E D
• Child care• Homemaker services
• Individual, group, and family counseling
• Health-care services
• Behavioral health evaluation and treatment
• Vocational counseling
• Community-based family support services that promote the safety and well-being of children and families also may be offered. These services are designed to do the following:
• Increase family strength and stability
• Increase parent confidence and competence• Afford children safe, stable, and supportive family
• Enhance child development
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