What is child abuse or neglect?
Abuse’ or ‘child abuse or neglect’ means an act or omission that threatens the health or welfare of a child in one of the following categories:
- Skin bruising, bleeding, malnutrition, failure to thrive, burns, fracture of any bone, subdural hematoma, soft tissue swelling, or death and:
- The condition or death is not justifiably explained.
- The history given concerning the condition is at variance with the degree or type of such condition or death.
- The circumstances indicate that the condition may not be the result of an accidental occurrence.
- A controlled substance is manufactured in the presence of a child, on the premises where a child is found, or where a child resides.
- A child tests positive at birth for either a schedule I or schedule II controlled substance, unless the child tests positive for a schedule II controlled substance as a result of the mother’s lawful intake of such substance as prescribed.
The term ‘child abuse or neglect’ includes any case in which a child is in need of services because the child’s parent has failed to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care, or supervision that a prudent parent would take.
A child is ‘neglected’ or ‘dependent’ if:
- The parent, guardian, or legal custodian has subjected the child to mistreatment or abuse or has allowed another to mistreat or abuse the child without taking lawful means to stop such mistreatment or abuse and prevent it from recurring.
- The child lacks proper parental care through the actions or omissions of the parent, guardian, or legal custodian.
- The child’s environment is injurious to his or her welfare.
- The parent, guardian, or legal custodian fails or refuses to provide the child with proper or necessary subsistence, education, medical care, or any other necessary care.
- The child is homeless, without proper care, or not domiciled with his or her parent, guardian, or legal custodian through no fault of such parent, guardian, or legal custodian.
- The child has run away from home or is otherwise beyond the control of his or her parent, guardian, or legal custodian.
- The child tests positive at birth for either a schedule I or schedule II controlled substance, unless the child tests positive for a schedule II controlled substance as a result of the mother’s lawful intake of such substance as prescribed.
How common is child abuse or neglect in Colorado?
- In 2013 Colorado State had 79,703 total referrals for child abuse and neglect
- In 2013 21 children died as a direct result of abuse or neglect
- Of 10,161 children who were victims of abuse or neglect, 10.4% were sexually abused
- The number of child victims of abuse and neglect is down 10.4% for 2013 from the year 2009
- Statistics Taken from www.CWLA.org
What does it mean to be a “Mandated Reporter”?
Under Section 19-3-304 of the Colorado Revised Statues (C.R.S.) the majority of professionals with a state licensure are required by law to report any instances of child abuse or neglect. Professions include: therapists, teachers, doctors, healthcare professionals, coaches, veterinarians, peace officers, clergy members, correction officers, and many more. If a child, a family member, or a perfect stranger reports child abuse or neglect to any of the Mandated Reporters in the state of Colorado, the law states the report must be made to the County specific to where the child resides immediately upon learning of the abuse or neglect.
What can therapy do to help children that are victims of abuse or neglect?
The simple answer is, we can help children with literally any aspect of life that is difficult. We work on helping infants that are exposed to drugs in utero develop appropriate feeding and sleeping cycles. We work with infants and children on meeting their developmental milestones: rolling, sitting, crawling, walking, talking, etc. Children that have been physically, emotionally, or sexually abused experience increased behaviors, decreased ability to follow directions, poor impulse control, decreased social skills, poor safety awareness, decreased emotional regulation, and many more social emotional difficulties, we as therapists can help with all of these things. Children within the foster care system as a result of abuse or neglect may also struggle with simple daily routines including sleeping, getting dressed, going to the grocery store, completing school work, taking baths, toilet training, playing with friends, etc., again, we can help with any of these areas.
Colorado is one of four states, California, Arizona, and Iowa, to provide a website that makes the child abuse data statewide public information: http://www.cdhsdatamatters.org/ If you would like more information or feel passionate about decreasing the incidence of child abuse and neglect in our state you can contact the state through the website above.
If you are a Mandated Reporter, or a good citizen that cares about the safety of our youth, please always ALWAYS report! even if you are not positive of abuse or neglect, if you have that gut feeling, call and allow the professionals within the state to determine if there is a case or not. The Colorado Child Abuse Hotline Is: (844) CO-4-KIDS