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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 65997 Find in a Library
Title: INTERVENTION IN CHILD ABUSE CASES
Journal: BULLETIN OF THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PSYCHIATRY AND THE LAW  Volume:6  Issue:1  Dated:(1978)  Pages:80-86
Author(s): P V BERNS
Corporate Author: University of Pittsburgh
School of Law
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 7
Sponsoring Agency: University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE BASIS FOR INTERVENTION BY LEGAL AUTHORITIES OR SOCIAL SERVICE AGENCIES IN CHILD ABUSE CASES IS EXAMINED.
Abstract: ALTHOUGH CHILD ABUSE HAS LONG EXISTED, LEGAL AND MORAL SANCTIONS DATE ONLY FROM 1874 IN THE U.S. BY JUNE 1967, EVERY STATE HAD ADOPTED CHILD ABUSE REPORTING LAWS. CHILD PROTECTION LEGISLATION IN MOST STATES IS SIMILAR TO THE CHILDREN'S BUREAU MODEL, WHICH AIMS TO PROTECT THE CHILD FROM FURTHER ABUSE AND TO PROVIDE REHABILITATIVE SERVICES FOR BOTH THE CHILD AND THE PARENTS. ALTHOUGH PROSECUTION OF ABUSERS IS POSSIBLE UNDER EXISTING CRIMINAL LAW, THE DIFFICULTY OF EVIDENCE COLLECTION AND NUMEROUS OTHER PROBLEMS PREVENT CRIMINAL LAW FROM PROTECTING THE CHILD. THE CIVIL LAW, ESPECIALLY THE JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEM, PROVIDES GREATER PROCEDURAL AND DISPOSITIONAL FLEXIBILITY. IN CHILD PROTECTION LEGISLATION, OBJECTIVE STANDARDS FOR INTERVENTION, INCLUDING TEMPORARY REMOVAL OR PERMANENT TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS, ARE LACKING. USE OF OBJECTIVE STANDARDS FOR THE DISPOSITION OF CHILD ABUSE CASES WILL ELIMINATE MANY OF THE DISCREPANCIES ALLOWED BY THE CIVIL LAW SYSTEM. JUDGES MUST RELY ON THE PROFESSIONAL JUDGMENT OF CASEWORKERS, BUT THIS JUDGMENT MAY BE INADEQUATE. COURT DECISIONS SUPPORTING PARENTS' PROCEDURAL RIGHTS HAVE NOT REALLY STRENGTHENED CHILDREN'S RIGHTS. THE APPOINTMENT OF A GUARDIAN AD LITEM (INDEPENDENT COUNSEL TO REPRESENT THE CHILD) SHOULD SAFEGUARD THE CHILD'S BEST INTERESTS, BUT STANDARDS FOR DETERMINING THOSE BEST INTERESTS ARE STILL INADEQUATE. PSYCHOLOGICAL LITERATURE CONCERNING THE CONSEQUENCES OF BOTH SEPARATION AND ABUSE LEAVES NUMEROUS QUESTIONS UNANSWERED. IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT (1) THE HOME BE THE FIRST SITE OF INTERVENTION; (2) TEMPORARY SEPARATION BE USED IF THE CHILD'S SAFETY IN THE HOME CANNOT BE GUARANTEED; (3) IF TEMPORARY SEPARATION AND INTENSE FAMILY INTERVENTION DO NOT ENSURE MINIMUM SAFETY IN THE HOME, PERMANENT SEPARATION FOLLOWED BY PERMANENT PLACEMENT TAKE PLACE; (4) SOCIAL SERVICE CASEWORKERS PROVIDE CONTINUOUS INTERVENTION. IT IS CONCLUDED THAT OBJECTIVE STANDARDS ARE NEEDED TO REPLACE THE CURRENT SUBJECTIVE ONES AND THE MULTIDISCIPLINARY INPUT IS NEEDED TO DEVELOP THOSE STANDARDS. REFERENCES ARE INCLUDED. (CFW)
Index Term(s): Child abuse reporting statutes; Child abuse situation remedies; Child protection services; Critiques
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=65997

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