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NCJ Number: 63105 Find in a Library
Title: ABUSE AND NEGLECT - FEDERAL PROPOSALS - PERPETUATING UNCERTAINTY
Journal: NLADA (NATIONAL LEGAL AID AND DEFENDER ASSOCIATION) BRIEFCASE  Volume:36  Issue:3  Dated:(FALL 1979)  Pages:123-128
Author(s): J CHAMBERLAIN
Corporate Author: National Legal Aid and Defender Assoc
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 6
Sponsoring Agency: National Legal Aid and Defender Assoc
Washington, DC 20036
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: FEDERAL EFFORTS TO ADDRESS THE PROBLEM OF CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT THROUGH FEDERAL LEGISLATION, MODEL STATE LAWS, AND FEDERAL STANDARDS FOR PREVENTION AND TREATMENT PROGRAMS, ARE EXAMINED CRITICALLY.
Abstract: THE 1974 CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION AND TREATMENT ACT MANDATED A NATIONAL CENTER ON CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT (NCCAN). ESTABLISHED IN 1975, NCCAN SEEKS TO FOCUS AND COORDINATE FEDERAL EFFORTS, INCLUDING 150 SPECIFIC PROJECTS RELATING TO CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT. SINCE 1977, NCCAN HAS PRODUCED THE DRAFT MODEL CHILD PROTECTION ACT AND THE DRAFT STANDARDS FOR CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT PREVENTION AND TREATMENT PROGRAMS AND PROJECTS. THE MODEL LAW'S DEFINITIONS ARE SO BROAD THAT THEY BECOME MEANINGLESS AND INTRUSIVE. THE LAW GIVES VIRTUALLY LIMITLESS DISCRETIONARY POWER TO SOCIAL SERVICES PERSONNEL. FOR PARENTS IN LOWER INCOME BRACKETS, THE LAW EDGES INTO THE GRAY AREAS OF DISCRIMINATION AND COERCION. THE LAW'S BASIC PROBLEM IS THE INCREDIBLY SUBJECTIVE NATURE OF SOCIAL SCIENCES AS A DISCIPLINE. SPECIFIC WEAKNESSES INCLUDE THE DEFINITION OF 'HARM' AND THE SECTION ON PROTECTIVE CUSTODY. IT IS UNCLEAR WHETHER THE DRAFT STANDARDS CLARIFY TERMS AND PROCEDURES. THE PROPOSAL FOR MULTIDISCIPLINARY CONSULTATION TEAMS IS ONE OF THE MOST POSITIVE ASPECTS. NEVERTHELESS, THE STANDARDS GIVE THE COURTS AND JUDICIAL SYSTEM THE UNCOMFORTABLE ROLE OF IDENTIFYING HIGH RISK CASES. MOREOVER, ALTHOUGH THEY EMPHASIZE A TREATMENT APPROACH, THEY FAIL TO PROVIDE A BRIDGE BETWEEN THIS APPROACH AND THE WIDELY USED CONTROL MODEL. USER MANUALS ARE BEING DEVELOPED AS AN ADJUNCT TO THE STANDARDS, BUT WILL BE USELESS WITHOUT FUNDING FOR NEEDED SERVICES. A LAW WHICH WOULD PROTECT CHILDREN BUT NOT ITSELF BECOME AN INSTRUMENT OF ABUSE OF INNOCENT FAMILIES IS NEEDED. THE CURRENT FEDERAL EFFORT'S GREATEST WEAKNESS IS THAT AS A FEDERAL EFFORT IT IS INTRINSICALLY REMOVED FROM DAY-TO-DAY CASE ACTIVITY. MORE APPROPRIATE EFFORTS WOULD INCLUDE MORE SUPPORT OF STATE AND LOCAL LEGISLATION, SUPPORT FOR ORGANIZATIONS LIKE THE CHILDREN'S DEFENSE FUND AND LOCAL GROUPS, LAWSUITS, AND EXPANDED USE OF COMMUNITY GROUPS AND LOCAL APPROACHES. (CFW)
Index Term(s): Child abuse; Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act; Child abuse situation remedies; Child protection services; Critiques; Juvenile dependency and neglect; Model law; Standards
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