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The Sound of Ideas

Decreasing Child Abuse

Posted Friday, February 26, 2010

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Decreasing Child Abuse The arrest of two local mothers for allegedly murdering their young children raises the question: Is enough being done to prevent child abuse? The recent cases involved kids age 5 and 2 - one scalded with water, the other severely beaten. We know that one mother had been through parenting classes and had been under the eye of social workers and child protection agencies but the safety nets failed. Is it time for some new approaches to child abuse prevention? Regina Brett and guests look for answers, Friday morning at 9 on 90.3. *photos courtesy The Plain Dealer


Health, Children's Health


Diane Suchetka, Reporter, The Plain Dealer
Deborah Forkas, Director, Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Family Services
David Crampton, Associate Professor of Social Work, Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, Case Western Reserve University
Kenneth Steinman, Clinical Assistant Professor, The Ohio State University College of Public Health

Additional Information

To report child abuse issues, call the Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Family Services at 216-696-KIDS (5437)
Child abuse incidents way down, by David Crary, Associated Press
There's little proof parenting classes are effective, by Diane Suchetka, The Plain Dealer
Deaths of Arshon Baker and Alexandria Hamilton raise questions about abuse prevention, by Diane Suchetka, The Plain Dealer
Ohio shows little improvement since 2008 study criticized efforts at child-abuse prevention, by Diane Suchetka, The Plain Dealer

Leave a Comment

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Rosa Collazo-Smith 9:51 AM 2/26/10

I think these parents need to be held accountable regardless of their resources.  My mom was a single mom, working in the garment district in NYC, which was essentially a sweat shop and took care of her children by herself with very little money.  Regardless of all of her stresses she managed to take care of us and never abused us.  We need to stop making excuses for these murderous moms.  There should be a license for becoming a parent.

John 9:51 AM 2/26/10

I am hearing a pass the buck from Debra. The majority of juvenile court judges will not significantly question a social workers report and opinion. If CCCFS has not done their job, the system fails. Part of the problem is the turnover of social workers. Comment please.

B 9:52 AM 2/26/10

Hello, I am concerned regarding the reactive response of the social workers when I call 696-kids.  I am a licensed provider based in the community, and, most of the time, my concerns are not taken as seriously as I would like by the worker taking the call.  Unless the child has been physically or sexually abused, then there is usually no follow up. When I call to inform the worker that the child is at risk, nothing is usually done, as the child has not yet been physically harmed.  The worker discounts psychological trauma.  Also, it has been my experience that the drug testing is voluntary and not done on a consistent basis.  Once a month or less is not sufficient. I would like to see more of a partner ship with clinicians based in the community.

Bette 9:53 AM 2/26/10

Protecting the most vulnerable persons in our community—in this case children, but also frail elderly and mentally ill— is the state-mandated function of County Government.  I am concerned about whether in the upcoming elections, we will elect persons who understand that mandate and the need in our county, and will be committed to providing the resources that are essential.  The media’s focus on establishing a county structure and electing persons to address economic development for the region, draws public attention away from the importance of this protection issue.

John, Ohio City 9:53 AM 2/26/10

Just a couple points. Underlying a great deal of these cases, whether we are talking about abuse, neglect, or murders of children are the issues of poverty and accepted mores. When a person has multiple children in their 20’s without independent resources, it is a proverbial recipe for disaster. Unfortunately our system is reactive, not proactive.

A second point. Children and Family Service has a goal of reunification and preservation. When a parent is unable to care for a child or represents a danger, we should not as a society provide that parent a second chance. More than one child has been hurt again or killed in attempting to “work with a family.”
In all of these cases, the victim is the child, irrespective of a parent’s situation there is no room for sympathy.

Katie Kelly 9:57 AM 2/26/10

One of your guests commented that lawmakers hands are tied, and cutting programs like Help Me Grow is sometimes inevitable.  I would strongly disagree.  The process of making the state and local budgets is about priorities.  Yes, the federal dollars needed to be redirected to food stamps and cash assistance.  But how we use our general revenue funds at the state level is about prioritizing those things that are proven to be good investments, in the short and long term.  Programs like Help Me Grow address the very issues that we are discussing today- parenting, child and parent health, and child safety, while also helping to build a future generation of parents that will know how to nurture and care for children.  What better use of our dollars could we make?


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