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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77191 Find in a Library
Title: Investigation and Correction of Institutional Child Maltreatment (From Abuse and Neglect of Children in Institutions, 1979 - Hearings, P 351-363, 1979 - See NCJ-77187)
Author(s): W W Barr
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 32
Type: Program Description (Model)
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This testimony by the director of the District of Columbia's Social Rehabilitation Administration (SRA) examines the nature of institutional abuse, and focuses on the children, the adults, the atmosphere, allowable sanctions, and the available support in three planned residential institutions.
Abstract: The majority of those in the care of the D.C. SRA have committed crimes against persons or major property crimes. However, the fact that a young person has been understood too infrequently, loved too little, and educated too poorly does not make him less cunning, less manipulative, or less dangerous. Therefore, the caregivers' views of their charges must be both realistic and compassionate. The role of the surrogate parent who must exercise authority over these youths has many limitations. Under unremitting pressure, institutional staff must make youths physically and developmentally comfortable while discouraging them from becoming psychologically dependent. A basic premise of the SRA demonstration project in the area of institutional mistreatment is that abusive patterns of staff can be detected before they become actual abuse and can be rechanneled more constructively. Also, there have traditionally been too few supports for both institutionalized children who feel they have been mistreated by staff, or for staff who find themselves unable to cope. A newly established demonstration project at three residential institutions for delinquent and allegedly delinquent youth (Cedar Knoll, Oak Hill, and the Receiving Home) will allow residents to report mistreatment on confidential forms reviewed only by project, and not line, staff. Unusual incident reports will be reviewed daily to compare staff versions of incidents with resident versions; an investigatory hearing mechanism will involve residents, project staff, and line staff. Advanced counseling groups for staff will explore alternatives to confrontation tactics. Staff-designed program activities will be encouraged on the theory that staff and residents who are involved will be less likely to react to each other in ways that will lead to physical confrontations. The four funded positions will include a project director, two investigators, and a clerk.
Index Term(s): Abused children; Burnout syndrome; Child abuse; Child abuse investigations; Constitutional Rights/Civil Liberties; Crimes against children; District of Columbia; Job pressure; Model programs; Professional conduct and ethics
Note: Testimony prepared for delivery before the Senate Subcommittee on Child and Human Development on January 24, 1979.
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