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In reading this report a lot of things stood out to me, but one of the most shocking things in my opinion was that children under the age of one are the most likely to be maltreated or at risk of maltreatment. According to chapter three page 22, it says, “The victimization rate was highest for children younger than one year (23.1 per 1,000 children in the population of the same age)” (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Administration for Children and Families Administration on Children, Youth and Families Children’s Bureau, 2013). Before reading this report I thought children around the ages of 8-14 were the most likely to be abused in one way or another, I figured they were at that age where their parents had them too scared to speak up to get help. I also felt as though around that age the child can be easily manipulated or bullied into thinking no one would care about them and if they tell someone they won’t have anyone there for them if they are removed from the environment. I guess looking at the statistics, it makes sense that a child under the age of one. At the age of one you can’t even speak, so the one being abusive has no worries of the one-year-old telling anyone or running away. The really don’t have to stress out or be that careful about what they do as long as they keep outsiders away from their child. Now this is in no way justifying what they are doing, but after thinking about it I suppose I understand why it might be higher for younger children.
When reading over this report I learned two main points: there are multiple sub-categories up under maltreatment (not just neglect) and not all neglect is intentional (neglect and abuse is slightly different). When I hear the word maltreatment I think of malnourish so I automatically tie neglect to it, but it is much more than that. Maltreatment is also the abuse aspect; more things are considered abuse than I thought. When I hear the word abuse I instantly think of physical abuse; the very violent, deliberate, unfortunately seems common abuse. I thought of punching, kicking, hitting someone with something, throwing them against stuff, just battering their bodies leaving welts, bruises, broken bones, and possibly blood loss. I never thought as sexual assault, psychological maltreatment, and neglect as abuse. I just thought of them as their own individual things. In chapter three page 23 it says, “Four-fifths (79.5%) of victims were neglected, 18.0 percent were physically abused, and 9.0 percent were sexually abused” (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Administration for Children and Families Administration on Children, Youth and Families Children’s Bureau, 2013). I was shocked to find out that the rate at which people (specifically children) are neglected is almost five times higher than the rate of physical abuse. Which brings forth the next thing that I noticed which is that what the major problem is might not even be being done intentionally.
With neglect being our biggest problem out of the 7 maltreatment types, it seems as if this is what we should put our time and effort into changing or at least understanding why this is happening so much. Growing up I was lucky enough to always have clothes to wear for school and food to eat but everyone isn’t as fortunate as me. Some people came to school and the breakfast and lunch there is all they eat that entire day, which that may be okay when you are little but once you get older it isn’t enough food. Once you become a teenager in high school, the food at school is enough to hold you over for a few hours but is never enough to fill you. So you go home starving with no food to eat until the next morning, you have hunger pains and it’s even worse if you have younger siblings because they don’t understand the situation your family is currently in. Another fact of neglect is not having enough clothes, now I’m not saying you need a new wardrobe every year but you eventually need new clothes.
After so long clothes begin to have wear and tear as well as you get older, taller and possibly bigger so you need to get more clothes. If there isn’t enough money to buy clothes you’re forced to take hand me downs from family members and possibly go to places that donate clothes but there’s a problem with both of those solutions. When taking clothes from family members there is hardly ever a time when someone is your exact size, so you’re stuck with clothes way too big or way to small, way too short or way too long and it can be frustrating and hard to adjust the clothes where they are comfortable for the child to wear. When going to places that are giving clothes to the less fortunate they normally only give you two full outfits per child with your voucher which helps but is hardly enough to really get your child through school or period for that matter. Most children that are neglected aren’t because their parents don’t care but it is because their parents are off at work, possibly having to go from job to job just to try to make ends meet and sometimes isn’t able to help as much as they would like. Most adults are really trying and it truly hurts them to see their children hurting but they are doing the best they can.
I think this is where child welfare practice and workers come into play, their job is to help you as much as possible and help you find the resources necessary to help you not only get on your feet but be able to keep your kids. The last thing anyone wants is to take a parent away from their child, especially if they know they are trying their best to provide for the child. Contrary to belief child welfare workers last resort is to take away someone’s children, we of all people know the mental damage and long term effect that can have on a child. It is up to them to get you the resources you need such as food stamps. If you are approved for this service, you are given so many food stamps a month to feed you and your family. That being the case you can put the money you are working for towards clothes and other necessities. Also if you need a different place to live temporarily until you can really get on your feet welfare workers are able to help with that as well. There are a ton of resources out there waiting to be utilized by people to help them and with the help of a welfare worker struggling families will be able to slowly but surely get back on their feet. Social workers have hearts and only want the best for you and your family so in any way they can help they will. The joy of seeing a smile on a family’s face that you helped is one of the best rewards and one of the ultimate goals of a welfare worker in their practice.
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