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Programs That Help Struggling Parents Can Prevent Child Abuse

Kentucky State police arrested a father after doctors reported that they found bruising all over his two-month-old baby's body and a brain bleed associated with a traumatic brain injury.

The 21-year-old father was arrested and charged with assault and criminal abuse. WSAZ News Staff "Kentucky State Police arrest man for child abuse" www.wsaz.com (Dec. 25, 2020).

Commentary

According to the National Children’s Alliance (NCA), approximately 700,000 children are abused in the U.S. each year.

It is thought by many experts that physical abuse is underreported.

The NCA also found that children in the first year of their life had the highest rate of victimization.

In substantiated child abuse cases, 78 percent of children were victimized by a parent just like the infant in the source article. Often it is health care providers who detect the signs of abuse, such as abrasions, bruises, lacerations, welts, burns, scalds, reddening of surface tissue lasting more than 24 hours, neurological deficits, and/or CT-MRI scan confirmation of brain bleeds.

Sometimes, the emotional, social, financial, and physical (i.e., sleep deprivation) pressures of raising a very young child can be overwhelming for some people, including young parents.

It is important for those who work with children to recognize the possible signs that a parent or coworker may need help. Work with your community, clergy, and schools to develop and offer programs that can educate and support parents.

Report suspected abuse. Call your local department of family services or the police. You do not have to be certain. If you have a reasonable suspicion, report.

Consider providing parent education programs to help protect children. Child safety prevention programs can teach the following:

  • If a parent or caregiver feels overwhelmed, sleep-deprived, or out of control, they should seek immediate help. Call someone to come assist immediately.?
  • Learn what steps to take if a baby or child won't stop crying. Never shake a baby. Shaking can result in permanent serious injury or death.?
  • Participate in parent or caregiver parenting classes and programs that teach coping skills, conflict, stress, and anger management, and financial management.?
  • Address any alcohol or substance addictions.
  • Never let anyone, including family members, caretakers, boyfriends, or girlfriends, take care of a child, if that person is acting overwhelmed, sleep-deprived, depressed, out of control, or interacts negatively with a child physically or emotionally.
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