What's Happening in the Field
Education and Training
OCFS Online Mandated Reporter Training
The New York State Office of Children and Family Services offers FREE 24/7 online Mandated Reporter Training in Child Abuse and Neglect/Maltreatment Identification. This two-hour, web-based training is fully narrated, interactive and features learning exercises customized for the child care profession. As you complete each section, the application saves your progress and allows you up to 30 days to complete the entire course. A certificate of attendance is sent to those who complete the course. You will receive a credit for two hours of training on this topic. The course is also available in Spanish. You can register anytime at www.nysmandatedreporter.org.
The American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC)
In partnership with The New York Foundling, APSAC is focused on meeting the needs of professionals engaged in all aspects of services for maltreated children and their families. Especially important to APSAC is the dissemination of state-of-the-art practice in all professional disciplines related to child abuse and neglect. As a multidisciplinary group of professionals, APSAC achieves its mission in a number of ways; most notably through expert training and educational activities, policy leadership and collaboration, and consultation that emphasizes theoretically sound, evidence-based principles. Its website provides access to a wide range of resources www.apsac.org.
The New York State Children’s Alliance, Inc. (NYSCA)
NYSCA is the membership organization representing Child Advocacy Centers (CACs) and Multidisciplinary Teams (MDTs), which provide services to 61 counties and four tribal nations in New York State. Its mission is to promote the development, growth, and continuation of Multidisciplinary Teams and Child Advocacy Centers throughout New York State in order to provide healing and justice to abused and neglected children and their families. Information about their training and events can be found at www.nyschildrensalliance.org
Providing Health Care to Adolescents
ACT (Assets Coming Together) for Youth connects research to practice in the areas of positive youth development and adolescent/young adult health. It offers training, capacity building, and evaluation services to public health agencies, youth development organizations, and community projects focused on adolescent health and development.
Generous support from the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) enables ACT for Youth to provide:
- Resources to aid those working in the areas of positive youth development and adolescent health: publications and presentations, the ACT for Youth Update, and the websites actforyouth.net and nysyouth.net.
- Capacity building, training, and evaluation services for initiatives funded by NYSDOH include Comprehensive Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (CAPP), Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP), Sexual Risk Avoidance Education (SRAE), and HIV/STI/HCV prevention programs for young people.
To learn more about the history of Act for Youth and a fuller explanation of their services, click on https://actforyouth.net.
Zero Abuse Project
This organization is committed to transforming institutions in order to effectively prevent, recognize, and respond to child sexual abuse. Its mission is to protect children from abuse and sexual assault by engaging people and resources through a trauma-informed approach of education, research, advocacy, and advanced technology. Their programs are designed to provide cross-disciplinary education and training, advocacy for systemic legal change, guidance for survivor support, and leadership on emerging technologies. Learn more about this resource www.zeroabuseproject.org
Darkness to Light
This organization has the mission to empower people to prevent child sexual abuse. Its programs raise awareness of the prevalence and consequences of child sexual abuse by educating adults about the steps they can take to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to the reality of child sexual abuse. It offers printed information, The 5 Steps to Protecting Our Children; a facilitated seminar, Stewards of Children; seminar facilitator training; and other resources for parents, individuals and organizations. To learn more about this organization and download material, go to www.d2l.org.
Written Materials for Professionals
Addressing Bias in Pediatric Care
CHAMP Faculty Vincent J. Palusci, MD, and Ann S. Botash, MD, have written an article that is a resource to help pediatric care professionals address personal and systemic racial bias: Palusci V J, Botash A S. Race and Bias in Child Maltreatment Diagnosis and Reporting. Pediatrics. 2021;148(1):e2020049625. PubMed
Research shows that pediatricians have implicit and explicit racial biases that can create disproportionate diagnosis and reporting of suspected child abuse and neglect. These actions are affected by both systems I thinking, which is intuitive and uses mental shortcuts, and systems II thinking, which is deliberate and logical. The authors make several suggestions for mitigation of bias in the diagnosis and reporting of child abuse.
Pediatric care providers can address the sources of bias by:
- Accessing ongoing education that provides comprehensive information regarding examples and indicators of the major types of childhood maltreatment and when and why to report suspected abuse;
- Using screening protocols, clinical guidelines, and electronic health records to trigger reportable concerns independent of clinician judgment;
- Building a strong multidisciplinary team that uses diverse cultural and racial perspectives; and
- Recognizing and reflecting on personal knowledge and biases regarding child abuse and neglect.
In addition to mitigating interpersonal bias, pediatric care providers should consider addressing systemic and structural forces in their practice and community agencies involved with child maltreatment. The authors include suggestions made by the American Academy of Pediatrics, such as creating a culturally safe clinical environment and training staff in culturally competent care.
Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has created a technical package of evidence-based strategies to prevent child abuse and neglect. These strategies include those focused on prevention as well as approaches to lessen immediate and long-term harms. They include:
- Strengthening economic supports for families
- Changing social norms to support parents and positive parenting
- Providing quality care and education early in life
- Enhancing parenting skills to promote healthy child development
- Intervening to lessen harms and prevent future risk
Physical, Sexual, and Mental Abuse and Neglect of Children, Adolescents
The American Academy of Pediatrics National Council on Child Abuse and Neglect (COCAN) is concerned with issues relating to physical, sexual, and mental abuse and neglect of children, adolescents, and their families. The Committee develops appropriate policy recommendations for consideration by the Board of Directors and state legislators, and serves as a liaison with other organizations concerned with the health and well-being of children and their families.
Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression Affirmation
SOGIE Handbook: Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression Affirming Approach and Expansive Practices by Kiku Johnson, 2019. Download from NY.Gov.
The goal of this handbook is to equip educators and facilitators of youth-based programs with a guide to expand understanding and knowledge of terminology, definitions, and an affirming approach and practices. It can assist them in building a setting that addresses and eliminates invisibility, discrimination, and high rates of self-harm and suicide in relation to youths’ known and emerging identities along the SOGIE spectra. Although the handbook was developed for educators and facilitators of the One Circle Foundation program models the Girls Circle® and The Council for Boys and Young Men® anyone can use this guide to better prepare themselves and learn how to implement any youth-based program or provide services to all individuals.
Investigating Child Abuse
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. It supports states, local communities and tribal jurisdictions in their efforts to develop and implement effective programs for juveniles. The Office strives to strengthen the juvenile justice system’s efforts to protect public safety, hold offenders accountable, and provide services that address the needs of youth and their families.
In 2007 the Office created Portable Guides to Investigating Child Abuse, a 13-part series of pamphlets. Topics include burn injuries, sexual exploitation, diagnostic imaging, interviewing techniques, and photo documentation.
Resources for the General Public on Sexual Violence Topics
The New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NYSCASA) maintains a lending library for members, as well as producing a variety of fact sheets, informational brochures, and other free resources on sexual violence topics for the general public. View the list of these resources at: https://nyscasa.org/get-info/.
Staying Positive While Parenting
Ann S. Botash, MD, has created a Staying Positive While Parenting series of seven pamphlets to help parents and caregivers better understand and cope with some of the frustrations of parenting and "step back" from their child’s frustrating behavior. The topics covered are colic, nighttime awakening, separation anxiety, normal negativism, normal poor appetite, exploring and testing, and toilet training. In addition, there is a summary of survival tips designed to be a refrigerator magnet. The pamphlets are designed to be given as part of anticipatory guidance during a well-child visit. The series can be used to augment the AAP’s Practicing Safety toolkit that helps detect maternal depression and improve anticipatory guidance to avoid child abuse.
Videos and Media
A Tragic Birthday
CNN has produced a video with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, about the courtroom defense strategy regarding shaken baby syndrome. A small but vocal group of defense witnesses are telling the courts that the science behind shaken baby syndrome, also known as abusive head trauma (AHT), has been debunked. However, major medical associations and child abuse specialists say these claims aren’t true. Child abuse specialists say these witnesses are confusing judges, juries, medical examiners and the media with theories for a child’s injuries that may hold little to no scientific validity. Their efforts are even keeping cases of alleged child abuse from coming to trial. To read about the case of Rehma Sabir and see animations explaining AHT visit https://www.cnn.com/interactive/2021/12/health/shaken-baby-syndrome-legal-battle/chapter-1.html
Promoting Sexual Health and Safety in Families
Janet F. Rosenzweig, MS, PhD, MPA, is an expert in child abuse prevention and intervention, and human sexuality. She has developed educational materials and presented programs for institutions, Child Advocacy Centers, and schools on promoting sexual health and safety in families, institutions, and communities. She has also created resources for parents including a book The Sex-Wise Parent, which is titled Talking About Sex in the paperback edition. Her handouts and pamphlets can be accessed through her website https://www.sexwiseparent.com.
No Hit Zone
To address the most prevalent risk factor of child physical abuse, corporal punishment, the Audrey Hepburn Children at Risk Evaluation (CARE) Center and the New Orleans Children’s Advocacy Center (NOCAC) introduced No Hit Zones at the Children’s Hospital and its clinics.
They have made their No Hit Zone materials available in a Toolkit that can be downloaded at no cost. These materials include:
- A sample protocol for enforcing No Hit Zones at a hospital
- A flyer explaining the No Hit Zone concept
- A No Hit Zone training video for staff
- Resources for parents including a handout explaining why spanking is harmful and developmentally specific effective parenting materials
- Activity sheets for children
- Promotional materials including exterior signage, material folders, badge stickers and magnets
- 500 informational screensaver images
These materials are available on their website https://nohitzone.com.
Child Abuse Evaluation & Treatment for Medical Providers
Child Abuse Evaluation & Treatment for Medical Providers is a comprehensive web-based source of child abuse information that offers tools and resources with which to diagnose and manage child and adolescent abuse victims. It is a resource for medical providers who do not have a background or expertise in child abuse pediatrics and are striving to develop best practice standards for their patient care setting. It is available at http://www.childabusemd.com/.
Health Effects of Violence and Abuse
The Academy on Violence and Abuse (AVA) advances health education and research on the prevention, recognition, treatment and health effects of violence and abuse. It strives to integrate knowledge about violence and abuse into the training of all health professionals, promote the health of all people, protect the most vulnerable, and advance health and social policy that promotes safe families, workplaces and communities with an end goal to ultimately minimize the health effects of violence and abuse. It is available at https://www.avahealth.org.
The Stop Bullying website emphasizes action steps individuals can take to prevent and stop cyberbullying and bullying in their schools and communities. It also features easy-to-use tools and resources for community leaders, young people and families. It is available at https://www.stopbullying.gov.
DOH Position on Forensic Evidence
Clarification of the NYS Department of Health position on minor consent to forensic evidence collection in the course of post-sexual assault care.
Since its founding in 1997, a grant from the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) has supported the CHAMP Program as it has worked to improve New York State’s medical response to child abuse. In addition to staffing, this grant supports webcasts and internet-based education and resources to help medical providers improve the diagnosis, treatment and reporting of child abuse and neglect.
NYSDOH Rape Crisis Program Special Project grant funds supported the 2006-2007 CHAMP survey of New York State SAFE/SANE Training and Practice Related To Pediatric Sexual Assault Cases.
Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (SAFE) Program
As a result of the 2001 Sexual Assault Reform Act, the New York State Department of Health developed standards for approving SAFE hospital programs, approving programs that train individual SAFE examiners, and certifying individual SAFE examiners. These programs and professionals have the goal of ensuring that victims of sexual assault receive competent, compassionate and prompt care. For more information go to www.health.ny.gov/professionals/safe/.