Will consistent assessment of risk and protective factors in maltreated children under the age of ten years promote resiliency?
Amistoso, Joan Marie
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Children should not be exposed to any form of maltreatment whether it is physical, emotional, verbal, sexual abuse or neglect. The number of reported maltreatment cases by the United States Census Bureau (2012) for 2009 was an astounding 762,940 cases. The United States Department of Health and Human Services 2009 report of child maltreatment estimated that 1,770 children died as a result of injuries sustained from maltreatment (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2010, p. x). The statistics obtained for these reports were from the Child Protective Services of reported and confirmed cases of child maltreatment. The actual number of unreported cases of child maltreatment may be greater than what has been previously reported. Child maltreatment is a preventable occurrence that requires the combination of assessment of risk factors and protective factors to develop interventions that will promote resiliency. Careful assessment of risk and protective factors needs to include those involving the child, the family, and the environment in which the child lives. The consequences of child maltreatment can be a continuous cycle that involves future generations with a large economic impact on society. As healthcare providers, it is crucial that knowledge of the statistical risk variables and identification for child maltreatment is current. Assessment of children at risk for maltreatment needs to be consistent and thorough. Collaboration is needed with other professionals such as educators, daycare providers, religious communities and the government. Child maltreatment and the consequences of the maltreatment are preventable with continued awareness, education, guidance and support of children, families and communities. Breaking the cycle of abuse is necessary to protect future generations of children.