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Monday, November 7, 2011

Child Abuse Deaths in USA

Two perhaps unrelated stories were published in the United States today. The first is published in looks at the rates of child abuse deaths. The story speaks about the high rates in the US as compared to other industrialized countries. While the statistics are fascinating, it is the numbing normalcy that is referred to in the story. The former director of Human Services in New Jersey, Michael Petit, suggests that people read about child abuse deaths in a way that is too common. As he states, "Americans read about it all the time and they shake their heads. But what they don’t know is that the problem is much smaller elsewhere in the industrialized world..." He notes that there are structural problems such as poverty, a weak safety net, greater rates of pregnancies occurring when the parents are ill prepared for the role and alcohol and drugs. But he also notes that there are programming interventions that can be effective if society will provide them.

Thus, it is not surprising that today there is also a story about the death of two children known the Oklahoma child protection system.NewsOK reports that the children were left in the care of a step mother well known to the system. While much is yet to be proven in a court, these sorts of stories undermine public faith in child protection adding to an already skeptical view of the system.

These stories serve to remind us that child protection is a very hard job indeed; the stakes are high and it takes more than just social workers to address the problems - these are societal issues.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your menaingful and important work. Love your blog and intend to follow your updates