Every year an estimated one million children suffer from some form of child abuse. Despite the publics opinion it occurs in all income, racial, religious, and ethnic groups and in urban and rural communities. Throughout history children were considered the property of their father, and therefore used as he saw fit. This slave like relationship led to increased instances of child abuse, and neglect. Children who experience abuse may adopt this behavior as a model for their own parenting. For this reason government policy has called for treatment programs to rehabilitate the abused child, but studies have shown these types of programs tend to cause more abuse than if the child were taken out of the home. These treatment programs are based mainly on treatment for the abused child, and less on treatment for the abuser, which in turn is increasing instances of child abuse rather than trying to prevent them. In order to decrease the instances of child abuse the United States government needs to institute treatment programs for the abuser, allocate education for parents to help them cope with the stresses that may cause them to abuse their children, and also once child abuse is found in a home, the parents should have
Child abuse is caused by a number of social conditions placed on parents including: stress, unemployment, illness, poor housing conditions, a larger-than-average family size, the presence of a new baby or a disabled person in the home, and the death of a family member. Problems with the child, such as mental retardation or physical disabilities can also cause child abuse. In some cases a parent will try to deal with these problems on their own, and in turn cause more stress, and raise the risk of child abuse. Abusive parents are socially isolated and have little or no contact with family or friends. This lack of social involvement deprives the person of support systems needed to help cope with everyday stress. Family structure also plays a big part in the risk of child abuse. Families where one parent has complete responsibility have the highest risk of child abuse. According to Patrick F. Fagan, “Married parents are the least likely to be abusive to their children.” (17) Single-parent and other nontraditional families are prone to instability, poverty, and violence. Characteristics of these families include poor communication, inappropriate expectation of the child, and substance abuse. Another big risk of child abuse is depressed parents. In these instances children are deprived of their basic needs. Studies have shown that abusive parents show greater physiological reactivity, irritation, and annoyance than non-abusive parents. These actions lead to an increase in an overall disapproval of their children. They perceive them as more aggressive, disobedient, stupid, and annoying than other children. Other causes for child abuse include children who are unwanted or unplanned. Support services may not resolve all problems that lead to an abuse, and therefore the abuse is likely to occur again. Studies have indicated that the more services a family receives, the more abuse occurs.
The government has instituted family preservation programs to help keep families together after an instance of child abuse. During the phases of treatment the program will build on family strengths, preserve ties between the child and the family, and tend to needs that, if unmet, put the child at risk. This program has proven to be affective at reducing instances of child abuse, but inadequate services, inflexible agency policies, and disjointed funding streams become problems faced by family preservation programs. The government has also issued home visitation programs, which have proven to reduce abuse. During this program, a caseworker will visit the home over a period of weeks, and will provide counseling for the family. “Instead of assuming children will be better off without parents who have maltreated them, practitioners must ask what it will take to keep the child safe and protect the child from the loss of their family.” (Margaret Beyer, 1)
In 2000 the child population of New York was 4,690,107, of these 111,952 received preventative services. The child population of Florida was 3,646,340, of these 72,414 received preventative services. The child population of Texas was 5,886,759, of these 22,927 received preventative services. The total child population for the United States was 72,293,812, of these 1,863,556 received preventative services. In 2000 there were 74,065 victims of child abuse in New York, of these 15,554 were removed from their home. In Florida there were 95,849 victims of child abuse, of these 20,128 were removed from their home. Texas had 45,800 victims of child abuse in 2000, of these 7,367 were removed from their home. The total number of victims throughout the United States was 867,455, of these 181,403 were removed from their home. Of these victims that were removed from their home, a large majority had instances of child abuse, unlike the ones who had been kept in the home.
Some topics in this essay:
Child Abuse, United States, Government, America, New York, Abuse, Texas, Florida, Psychological Abuse, Physical Abuse,
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