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Child abuse and neglect is an important social concern

Introduction: Child abuse and neglect is an important social concern impacting multiple families and communities across the country. One in eight children in the United States will be confirmed as a victim of abuse and neglect before turning 18. (Casey family programs 2019) Children who experience abuse and neglect are more likely to have a number of problematic developmental, health, and mental health outcomes, as well as learning disabilities. These children are more likely to also be labeled as the problem child, be arrested for delinquency, adult criminality, and violent criminal behavior. They also experience problems relating to their peers. Throughout their lives, children who experience abuse and neglect also experience depression and anxiety as well as other mental health issues. As they grow older, the issues built up from the abuse and neglect experienced as a child follow these children into adulthood until addressed. In 1974, congress enacted the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) to address and create a distinct focus on preventing and responding to child abuse and neglect.
Synopsis: The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, (CAPTA) originally enacted on January 31, 1974 defined child abuse and neglect as any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caregiver that results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse, or exploitation, or an act or failure to act that presents an imminent risk of serious harm. (childwelfare.gov) The act provides federal funding and guidance to states in support of prevention, assessment, investigation, prosecution, and treatment activities and also provides grants to public agencies and nonprofit organizations, including Indian Tribes and Tribal organizations, for demonstration programs and projects. (Child welfare 2019) Because the act receives state grant funds, states are required to have procedures in place for receiving and responding to allegations of abuse or neglect and for ensuring children’s safety. (EveryCRSReport.com) The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act was legislated with its main focus on physical abuse of children but today things have changed. The majority of founded instances of child maltreatment is due to child neglect.
CAPTA consists of four main funding streams; state grants, child abuse discretionary activities, Children’s Justice Act grants, and community-based child abuse prevention grants. State grants are provided to states to improve child protective services (CPS). This includes mandatory reporting of child maltreatment, intake, screening, investigations, risk and safety assessments, case management and training. Each state must submit a state plan to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in order to qualify for the funding. Child abuse discretionary activities fund various competitive research and demonstration grants for public and private agencies. They also fund the provision of technical assistance to states regarding prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect. Children’s Justice Act grants supports the examination, assessment, and prosecution of child abuse and neglect. They have a main focus on sexual abuse, child fatalities caused my maltreatment, and abuse of children with disabilities or serious health disorders. The Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention grants are fundings provided to community-based organizations that work to prevent child abuse and neglect. These organizations are designated by the governor of each state with a priority given to the Children’s Trust Fund Advisory Boards. With each of these grants through CAPTA states are granted funding that require no state match. The funding is provided based on the amount of non-federal funds leveraged for child abuse prevention activities.
Child Protective Services (CPS) and Its impact on CAPTA: Child protective services (CPS) has a goal to protect children and assist parents or caretakers in providing proper care and attention to children. Another goal of theirs is to decrease the risk of continuing abuse and neglect. CPS is a specific social service provided by the Department of Human Services (DHS) to assist children who might be experiencing neglect or abuse by their parents or other guardians. (Department of Human Services) Children in family who come in contact with CPS agencies are at higher risk for poor development and behavior outcomes than children in the general population. These children are also more likely to live in low income families with only one supportive caregiver in the family. (everycrseport.com) When it comes to abuse and neglect, any person who sees or knows that a child is being abused or neglected in a household can call child protective services and report it. When CPS gets this call, they now have to go and investigate the situation and identify if the children need any additional services. In these situations, CPS workers have to identify whether the caregiver is providing a safe and healthy environment for the child to live in. When it comes to the job done by CPS workers children are either looked as either victims or non-victims of abuse and neglect. The number of children and families who receive visits or investigations from CPS each year is greater than the number of children found to be victims of child abuse and neglect. A smaller number of these children are placed in foster care. (everycrsreport.com) The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act’s state grants provides funding to help states improve their CPS systems. They also provide training for CPS workers and other mandated reporters. (CAPTA State Grants 2012) The amount of money given to each state depends on the amount of cases CPS receives regarding child abuse and neglect. CPS also submits a plan of action as to what goals they have and how they plan to improve their system.
How CAPTA Advanced CPS: Along with providing trainings and classes for CPS workers to attend, CAPTA also provides the development and implementation of procedures for collaboration among CPS, domestic violence, and other agencies. The Child Abuse Prevention and treatment Act also provides CPS with multiple fundings through state grants. When it comes to providing grants to CPS agencies, CAPTA sets high standards as to what they expect out of the agencies. In order to get these grants, states must provide an outline as to how they plan to spend CAPTA state grants funds. They also must specify what areas of the state’s CPS system it will seek to improve and what child abuse prevention services will be provided. (everycrsreport.com) The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act has advanced the Child Protective Service system in many ways. One of the main ways they accomplish this by providing funding to CPS agencies as well as many other agencies. Some ways CAPTA uses its funding to advance the CPS system are public outreach/education on issues relevant to CPS, new or enhanced technology to CPS staff, and support to citizen review panels, review boards, and CPS advisory councils. (Childwelfare.gov) The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act has strict policies governing where the money funded to CPS should be used and also, it remains one of the main sources of federal leadership, establishment, and influence in promiting best practice in state CPS systems.
How CAPTA relates to class findings: Abuse and neglect is a major issue that through its funding, CAPTA makes sure is one of the main focuses. In class, we have talked about abuse and neglect as two of the top ten adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). ACEs are potentially traumatic events that can have negative, lasting effects on health and wellbeing. (childtrends.org) As recently stated, abuse and neglect can affect a child all around. This includes physically, mentally, and emotionally. It creates trauma that may be easily trigger throughout the child’s life. It’s also creates stress on the child. The child now has decipher between manageable vs. toxic stress. A manageable stress would be a child worried about the fight they had with their younger sibling. A toxic stress would be that a child worried about them and their siblings’ being left alone in the house alone under the age of 13 constantly. Although both situations are stressful for the child, there are numerous variables in the manageable stress that is under the child's control. In other words, the toxic stress is something the child has no control over whereas manageable stress could potentially self-induced. Toxic stress can be gained from the neglect and abuse children receive from their parents or guardians. CAPTA provides funding so that toxic stress can be prevented and/or avoided.
Personal Reflection: I whole-heartedly agree with The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act because of its contiuous change for the betterment of children in these types of environments. CAPTA is a policy that is mainly about its funding it provides to different agencies but with this funding, the policy requires these agencies to use it on the improvement of preventing child abuse and neglect. This policy is not a perfect policy and has been amended several times. As a future social worker who wants to work with children and their families, I understand that policies are always going to change as views and needs change. CAPTA was last reauthorized on December 20, 2010 by the CAPTA Reauthorized Act of 2010. It was then amended in 2015, 2016, and 2018. The most recent provisions of CAPTA were amended on January 7, 2019 by the Victims of Child Abuse Act Reauthorization Act of 2018. (childwelfare.gov) This act helps CAPTA by providing more grants for local and regional children’s advocacy centers. I think this is beneficial because it provides more trainings on how to respond to child abuse. I think when it comes to child abuse and neglect many people focus on the now which is removing the child out of the negative environment instead of thinking about the future which how the child’s mental health may be effacted as they grow up. With the funding provided by CAPTA, I’d like to see classes not only provided for the professional workers but also for the families. What can families do besides call CPS with they see a situation of abuse and neglect? Everybody is capable of changing and through CAPTA’s funding, solutions should be provided so that parents and guardians can work on themselves in order to receive their children back into their custody. I agree with CAPTA’s strict requirement to use the funding for ways to prevent child abuse and neglect because we see too many cases of it today. If us as social workers can attend classes and trainings to better educate ourselves on how to deal with abuse and neglect cases I believe the statistics will go down. In the fiscal year of 2017 about 674,000 children were determined as victims of maltreatment. In this number 74.9 percent were victims of neglect and 18.3 percent were physically abused. (acf.hhs.gov) Although these numbers are high, it does show an increase from the fiscal year of 2016. With the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act in full affect, I’d like to see a temendous drop within the 2018 and 2019 fiscal year.
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