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Preventing Child Maltreatment in Infants and Toddlers: Skills for Early Care and Education Providers

by Nancy L. Seibel
January/February 2010
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Article Link: http://www.childcareexchange.com/article/preventing-child-maltreatment-in-infants-and-toddlers-skills-for-early-care-and-education-providers/5019146/

The issue

Each year more than 1 in 100 children are abused and neglected (United States Department of Health and Human Services, 2008). It is highly likely that there are at least 3 times more cases of abuse and neglect than these numbers suggest (English, 1998; Sedlak & Broadhurst, 1996). Underreporting, incomplete reports, variations in state laws and in data collection practices, misclassification of child injuries and deaths, and cultural, racial, and personal bias all contribute to difficulty in understanding the true prevalence of child maltreatment (Baker & Lewit, 1995; Bluestone, 2005: Centers for Disease Control, 2006; Crume, DiGuiseppe, Byers, Sirotnak & ­Garret, 2002; English, 1998; Lane, Rubin, Monteith & ­Christian, 2002). In addition, children can be harmed by parenting practices that while harsh or unresponsive may not rise to the level of legally defined abuse or neglect (Smith, 2001).

Infants and toddlers are more likely than older ­children to be abused, and children under 12 months are at greatest risk (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [USDHHS], 2008). The younger a maltreated child is the higher is the likelihood of experiencing serious harm or fatality (USDHHS, 2008). Neglect is the most common form of maltreatment reported for infants and toddlers ...

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