Today's economy and growing unemployment put huge strains on families. Some of these families may have been under pressure before the economic slowdown. Increasingly, family practitioners are seeing more cases involving domestic abuse and neglect of children. It's important that services be made available as quickly as possible. As Dr. Robert Sege and Barbara Talkov wrote in an Op-ed piece in today's Boston Globe:
"Recently, a mother brought her infant to our clinic for a check-up. The doctor had finished, and the nurse was giving the baby his routine immunizations. "I'm thinking of killing myself and my babies," the mother said softly, through an interpreter. What happened next is what we do whenever the need arises: After calling ahead to explain the situation, we walked down to the emergency department with the mother and her child to be seen. Then we called the Department of Children and Families.
"Despite their increasing caseloads, the late-night DCF worker and a supervisor came to assess the situation. They knew something we didn't - that this wasn't the first time this mother, a depressed refugee who had been through God knows what before arriving in the United States, had told a caregiver that she was in trouble. By the end of the evening, the mother was in the hospital being treated for her depression, and the children were safe in an emergency placement. The next day, with the mother's agreement, they were placed with a family friend. Now, the mother is out of the hospital with daily supports and the children are back home."
Clients often ask me about child abuse and neglect. What is it? How and when does one report it? What is a protective services investigation like? Here is some detailed information for you.
3) Child Abuse & Neglect -- Potential Indicators that a Protective Services Referral Should Be Made
5) Who Must Make a Report to Child Protective Services: Mandated Reporters
The Boston Globe Op-ed piece, Vulnerable children are suffering twice, can be read here.