Child Maltreatment Definition

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According to many public agencies across the United States, over one million children were found to be victims of abuse in 1994, and three million reports of possible abuse of neglect. Every child’s experience of maltreatment is different and unique. It all depends on the child’s characteristics, their relationship with the perpetrator, and the intensity of the maltreatment done to the child. Workers in child protective services (CPS) agencies need a better understanding of the dynamics of maltreatment to help them decide what’s best for the child. This will guide them and help them offer appropriate programs that are beneficial and helpful to the child. The concept of child maltreatment has changed over time. There has been evidence of children …show more content…

Since the definition of maltreatment has changed and can be vague, it is constantly debated by agency officials, researchers, and state legislatures. Discussed below, are some key differences of this term. A national definition of child maltreatment was given in 1974, when the U.S. Congress passed the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), Public Law 93-247. This helped prescribe actions that the states should take to protect the children. The definition was as follows: The physical and mental injury, sexual abuse, neglected treatment or maltreatment of a child under age 18 by a person who is responsible for the child's welfare under circumstances which indicate the child's health and welfare is harmed and threatened there- by, as determined in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare.” This would mean that only parents or caregivers of the child would count as the perpetrators of child abuse and neglect, and that any other individual who harms a child would be considered assault (including mental injury and neglect). It has become difficult to establish a set definition for maltreatment across the states and to determine the magnitude of the problem at a national …show more content…

Two terms describe the extent of maltreatment in society: prevalence and incidence. Prevalence means a child has experienced abuse or neglect at least once in their life, whether it was reported to child protective services or not. Incidence is defined as the number of child maltreatment cases that child protective services counts each year. This only captures the reported cases, not counting those that are abused or neglected but not reported.
Even though there is not an exact number of children who are abused or neglected, the data from surveys and reports show the extent of child maltreatment in the United States, and continues to advocate and suggest more resources to address the

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