Child Abuse Sourcebook (Health Reference Series) by Joyce Shannon

By Joyce Shannon

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Family Stress Neglectful families often have experienced stressful life events due to financial difficulties, substance abuse problems, housing problems, illness, or other challenges. Families that are coping with such problems may not have the time or emotional capacity to provide for the basic needs of their children or to participate in interventions. Neglectful families often report more day-to-day stress than non-neglectful families. In addition, particularly stressful life events (such as the loss of a job or the death of a family member) may exacerbate characteristics in the family, such as hostility, anxiety, or depression, which may increase levels of family conflict and child maltreatment.

Other studies have shown a link between child neglect and serious or postpartum depression. For example, mothers suffering from postpartum depression are less responsive and sensitive toward their infants and may be disengaged or withdrawn. Of course, numerous mental illnesses can affect an individual’s ability to care for a child properly. As with any condition, mental illness occurs along a continuum of severity. Other Parental Factors Other parental factors that may be associated with child neglect include: age, education, gender, employment, criminal activity, and prior involvement with CPS.

These ordinary processes should be recognized, promoted, and supported so that they work well and can help children. 1—Victims of Child Abuse ............................................ 2—Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities ....................... 3—Referrals, Reports, and Investigations of Child Abuse and Neglect ........................................ 4—Perpetrators of Child Abuse ................................... 1 Victims of Child Abuse Excerpted from “Child Maltreatment 2006: Chapter 3,” Administration for Children and Families (ACF), 2008.

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