The Most Probable Reason for Why Child Abuse Is Unreported: Critical Essay

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The Social Problem Addressed by the Policy

Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), displayed a major impact on children including foster youths (Hobbs, Hobbs, & Wynne, 1999). In 1974, CAPTA (PL 93-247), was enacted to protect children (Gateway, 2019). This paper dives into the critical analysis of the issues related to unreported child abuse, policy objectives, values, effects/barriers, expectations, implications, and policy change recommendations (Moxley, Squires, & Lindstrom, 2012). The purpose of the act is to protect the well-being of the children involved (Moxley, Squires, & Lindstrom, 2012). Research has been conducted to address the social problem of the increase in child abuse and neglect referrals, and less funding that is used for prevention purposes (Harfeld & Marlowe, 2017).

Enacting the bill in 1975 was initiated by US Senator Walter F. Mondale. The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), has been approved in all 50 states (Stein, 2019). It provides national funding to upkeep deterrence, assessment, analysis, prosecution, and treatment actions linked to abandoned kids (Stein, 2019). Contributions are also provided to community establishments and charitable establishments to assist in prevention. CAPTA has unjustified provisions involving public disclosure of child mortality rates and the representation of children participating in court proceedings (Moxley, Squires, & Lindstrom, 2012). This act enforces all states to self-certify to retain a stable cash flow (Harfeld & Marlowe, 2017).

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CAPTA defines child abuse and neglect as failing to act as a parental figure, which affects in loss, severe bodily or expressive injury, sexual abuse, or mistreatment (Moxley, Squires, & Lindstrom, 2012). If present it causes danger to the child (Stein, 2019). Every year more than 3 million cases of alleged child abuse and neglect are reported to Child Protective Services. Studies show about 700,000 children are harmed and over 1,500 mortalities are recognized (Doyle Jr. & Aizer, 2018).

The law has been reauthorized, modified, and extended several times due to the increased number of maltreatment in children and not taking action can cause developmental problems, and a colossal cost to humanity (Moxley, Squires, & Lindstrom, 2012). In 2009, an increase of 3.3 million referrals was placed for children who are harmed in the United States (Moxley, Squires, & Lindstrom, 2012) when determining how to put a stop to the growth, influences remain measurable to distinguish what is inflicting harm. The interpretation of abuse and neglect can be extensive and unclear. Certain believe that equal physical and emotional harm must be incorporated, while external forces differ (Stein, 2019). Being accused of maltreatment will require factual evidence and if a child has an existing injury or condition an investigation should be conducted to identify if it is abuse.

Policy Objectives, Value Premises, Expectations, and Target Populations

Several schemes concerning the policy discovered problems assuming parents who abuse or neglect their children would not want to pursue services automatically and the physicians could not be able to file reports of alleged battered children. The American Medical Association felt like physicians should not be the only accountable agents to report suspected child abuse (Stein, 2019). In most states, the act is requiring any person in the helping professions such as social service, law enforcement officers, hospital workers, teachers, and others to make reports (Stein, 2019). The act permits any person in the twenty-two states with knowledge of abuse or neglect to file a report (Stein, 2019). All states accept complaints from non-mandated sources such as relatives or neighbors (Stein, 2019).

Professionals who do not want to report neglect or abuse displayed a lack of knowledge of reporting responsibly, what type of cases to report and to whom to report, confidentiality concerns, pressure from supervisors not to report, lawsuits, the reluctance of involved, and a belief that reporting will make the situation worst (Harfeld & Marlowe, 2017). CAPTA has a requirement for the states to report any identified and alleged instances of abuse or neglect to qualify for federal aid (Stein, 2019). Some covert objectives in cases of maltreatment fall in a gray area (Stein, 2019). Family risk factors have contributed to higher occurrences of child abuse and neglect such as poverty, parental substance abuse, low maternal education, paternal incarceration, parental military deployment, low maternal age, domestic violence (DV), single-parent households, parent mental health issues, minority status, or having more than three children living at home (Moxley, Squires, & Lindstrom, 2012).

Homelessness has been identified as an outcome of lack of services and caregiver substance abuse is exceedingly interrelated with child abuse and neglect (Doyle Jr. & Aizer, 2018). Other factors that are contributing to the increase in maltreatment reports are disparities such as increased unemployment rates, and sequential financial stress (Moxley, Squires, & Lindstrom, 2012). Other measures that should be considered are if any form of Domestic violence (DV), has occurred due to the child already being exposed to violence and the parent is neglecting to protect the safety and well-being of the child. DV transpires proximate 60 percent of families (Doyle Jr. & Aizer, 2018). Changes in the policy should implement assessments and intervene by improving the safety of both children and victims of DV (Doyle Jr. & Aizer, 2018).

The additional influence that can increase the possibility of harm is parental substance abuse. A 2008 study in Oregon displayed that over 40% of all validated abuse cases involved parental use of drugs or alcohol (Moxley, Squires, & Lindstrom, 2012). The values attributed to the policy are the benefits of intervening early with battered kids to guard the brain development of these innocent children and provide positive, enriching childlike involvement for the youths (Moxley, Squires, & Lindstrom, 2012).

Some barriers that have been attributed to maltreated children and families after eligibility has been established with data sharing and tracking (Moxley, Squires, & Lindstrom, 2012). Data tracking and sharing are prohibited in states but sharing can promote early intervention referral, and provide needed information for accountability and policy decisions (Stein, 2019). Early intervention would be beneficial but because the services are voluntary, families can choose if they want to be involved in services. Improvement in data tracking can track how many families are involved in welfare, how many leave, and why they choose to leave (Moxley, Squires, & Lindstorm, 2012). Gathering these would aid in understanding barriers and assist in improved retention. A lack of parental engagement in amenities, and insufficient specialized growth for child protective workers and primary interference experts (Moxley, Squires, & Lindstorm, 2012).

Another barrier is child-protective caseworker training (Moxley, Squires, & Lindstorm, 2012). Complications in reporting have been identified with the caseworkers being linked to early development and early intervention. If directed training for all caseworkers is mandatory, it can enhance caseworkers’ knowledge of Part C services. This would advance the ability of child welfare agencies to coordinate, contribute, and collaborate on child and family services (Moxley, Squires, & Lindstorm, 2012). Also, early intervention service provider training can assist workers in learning empathy to respond to the abused youths’ emotional necessities and the guidelines on the significance of indulgent and supportive attitudes towards parents involved within the child welfare system (Stein, 2019).

Effects of the Policy

The policymakers expected the policy to address the problems of the most ruthlessly vulnerable and abused children in our nation (Stein, 2019). A problem presented is the underrepresentation of the broadcast and early identification measures, assessment, and referral processes (Moxley, Squires, & Lindstorm, 2012). For maltreated children in authenticated cases shows a lack of consistency and awareness regarding broadcast and referral methods (Moxley, Squires, & Lindstorm, 2012). Studies show that caseworkers have not had adequate training to be able to complete developmental broadcasts for valid outcomes (Moxley, Squires, & Lindstorm, 2012). Caseworkers can state that they simply don’t know how to interpret the scores on developmental screening tools if extensive training isn’t completed.

Studies show caseworkers utilize informal knowledge of child development rather than authorized screening or assessment methods as the basis for decision-making when referring a child (Harfeld & Marlowe, 2017). By caseworkers utilizing informal knowledge without following the official protocol can allow many children who need an evaluation to be overlooked because of a lack of accurate information (Moxley, Squires, & Lindstorm, 2012). Although training can be conducted, studies show that some child-protective workers may still remain muddled about the referral process even after training. Some may also refer children to the wrong services such as part C evaluations (Moxley, Squires, & Lindstorm, 2012). These can be confusing utilizing it if they are arriving in foster care versus kids with validated cases who remain in the home (Hobbs, Hobbs, & Wynne, 1999).

Some unintended effects of the policy are allowing novices to make psychological in addition societal conclusions about kids and families on the substance of insignificant information (Stein, 2019). These false judgments could result in unjustified disturbance of the government into domestic life. Despite the worries, the mandated recording of exploitation and abandonment was sustained. There have also been dilemmas for people who are required to report. Mandated reporters must make judgments about whether the situations constitute mistreatment or cruelty and many are hesitant to file complaints since they’re unsure what counts as such (Stein, 2019). Professional sources account for no more than 50 percent of reports, the majority are employed in the public sector. About 5 percent of physicians and psychologists are counted for all reports (Stein, 2019). Reports by nonprofessionals result in false reports since they do not necessarily have the information in addition to the training the mandates need to differentiate what is measured as mistreatment (Stein, 2019). This is not the case which results in inaccurate reportage and also takes away the potential to investigate the actual cases.

There have been some long-term effects linked that have been identified in the child welfare system (Moxley, Squires, & Lindstorm, 2012). Those identified as having low developmental outcomes, low educational achievement, and poor academic performance (Moxley, Squires, & Lindstorm, 2012). A condition called, “7000”, is a medical condition that refers to their weight for their age being below the fifth percentile (Doyle Jr. & Aizer, 2018). Certain mental health issues can be exposed such as reactive attachment disorder. Youngsters have been exposed to abandonment if their parents have a substance abuse problem. There has been an increase in mental health problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder, and antisocial behavior linked to substance abuse (Moxley, Squires, & Lindstorm, 2012).

Many maltreated children also have an elevated regularity rate of traumatic experiences that displays increased cortisol levels that can impact brain development (Harfeld & Marlowe, 2017). In 2009, a study was conducted exposing that almost half of the maltreated children participating in the study have had delays in many areas such as cognition, language, and behavior (Moxley, Squires, & Lindstorm, 2012). They have also had difficulties with reading, writing, and math. About 10% of the maltreated children had general learning difficulties compared to the non-maltreated children with only 0.4% displaying learning difficulties (Moxley, Squires, & Lindstorm, 2012). This amendment has significance to the increased awareness of communal influences of child abuse and the effects of the harm it has on the development and forthcoming school readiness (Moxley, Squires, & Lindstorm, 2012).

This policy has been enacted to protect the children in the welfare system but when the system is filled with so many false reports, it takes longer to identify those children. If it takes longer to identify those children they are exposed to vulgar conduct which can affect their social and emotional development (Stein, 2019). This will lead to long-term emotional and behavioral problems. The unintended effect of this policy is that this is the only child welfare entitlement that reduces every year due to unfair eligibility requirements such as inaccurate reporting (Stein, 2019). The bill has been revised ever since the original enactment of the bill. Reauthorization of CAPTA can display a problem because it occurs every five years (Gateway, 2019). This is a problem because more and more provisions are being discovered and added to the law. This takes the focus away from the policymaker’s preliminary intent. Due to the number of requirements the state adds doesn’t account for the decrease in subsidy which has resulted in unfunded mandates (Harfeld & Marlowe, 2017). This is a serious issue because unfunded mandates are going to discourage them from even making any reports (Harfeld & Marlowe, 2017). Although reports distinguish if harm was inflicted will get the help needed to protect them from such harm it also can have a big liability and can be costly (Moxley, Squires, & Lindstorm, 2012).

Having a policy this crucial should require an all-inclusive approach due to the increase in child abuse reports. This all-inclusive approach should allow all mandate reporters to assimilate the work of social service, legal, mental well-being, DV services, schooling, substance exploitation organizations, and community-based organizations to classify the need to have appropriately qualified staff to have all the tools and knowledge needed to file accurate reports and protect the children (Doyle Jr. & Aizer, 2018).

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