BEING ALERT FOR CHILD ABUSE SITUATIONS REQUIRES VILLAGE EFFORT

BEING ALERT FOR CHILD ABUSE SITUATIONS REQUIRES VILLAGE EFFORT

Child Abuse a More Complicated Issue; More Eyes Needed

Author: Family Health Services Staff/Wednesday, April 26, 2017/Categories: Home Page, Rotator, Press Release, NEWS

Rate this article:
No rating
With April being National Child Abuse Prevention Month, Michelle Zambrano, the Will County Health Department’s Behavioral Health Manager of Child and Adolescent Programs, says child abuse is a much more complicated issue than ever before.

Zambrano says that when it comes to obvious signs of physical abuse, such as a child having severe bruises on their body, the definition of abuse has changed very little. But when it comes to emotional abuse, society’s eyes are now more open than in the past.

“Teachers, for example,” Zambrano stated, “are receiving more training from their school districts. The point is made to take initiative if a child goes, for example, from being very vivacious to being very quiet. With any kind of significant personality change, they know more than ever to think, ‘something may have happened.’”

Sonia Perez, Behavioral Health Manager for the Health Department’s Community Health Center, says it must be remembered that if a parent suspects something harmful is being done to their child, their primary care physicians and pediatricians are a logical first step, and referrals can then be made. In fact, pediatricians receive one month of formal Developmental and Behavioral training during their residencies.

It is also a fact that more things are reported today to organizations, such as the Health Department’s Behavioral Health Division. And Zambrano says, that’s fine. “It is our job to pass the reported incident on to the Department of Children and Family Services. It is there job to investigate and make a determination.”

And making a determination these days can indeed be very challenging. “Every year,” Zambrano pointed out, “you read more incidents in the newspaper about a child possibly being taken away from their parents. Maybe 50 percent would describe the situation as abusive, and 50 percent would not. This is where you need to look into where the person who reported the incident is coming from, as well as where the parents are coming from. Often, there are no hard, fast rules. The entire situation needs to be researched.”

Perhaps someone might report that a group of elementary school children are walking home from school alone, and feel they should not be because of all the dangers in the world today; further investigation might show that there is no neglect at home at all. Instead, the parents might have a plan for the children to, perhaps, “stay in a group and come straight home.” On the other hand, case workers might discover that the children do indeed have a problem at home, and live with neglect and lack of supervision.

Zambrano says some of the severe neglect we often hear about in homes with children “may lead people to say, ‘that didn’t happen in my day.’ Well, most likely it did happen. But now our eyes are more trained to look for it.”

Meanwhile, when it comes to training ourselves to watch for signs of potential abuse, especially as parents, perhaps no factor looms larger now that social media. “I remember a situation,” Zambrano recalled, “where a parent knew their six-year-old child was playing some kind of Xbox game in the next room. All of a sudden they heard a male, adult voice; clear as can be. Sure enough, this stranger had hooked up with the six-year-old in a virtual reality Xbox game. In situations like this, the parent needs to take action and ask, ‘What is this person doing communicating with my child,’ and report it immediately.”

Another example of how things have changed is the focus on child-on-child abuse. There is much more of a focus on school bullying these days. But Zambrano says sometimes it can be emotional abuse, especially with dating situations involving older kids.

“I remember once I asked a girl we were counseling why she was with her boyfriend. Her answer was basically ‘I don’t know’ or ‘because he asked me out.’ Sometimes the real reason is because the boy has threatened to harm himself or the girl if they break up. She might even be waiting for graduation so she’ll have the excuse of ‘we have to break up because I’m going away.’”

Perez says that parents “are more educated when it comes to recognizing these and other situations for what they really are. Perhaps in some cases, ignorance was a problem in the past, because we simply didn’t know what it was.”

And finally, Zambrano says the need for social agencies like the Will County Health Department to play a major role in the prevention of child abuse is more important than ever. “With today’s economy, there is so much stress. A parent might realize that their child needs counseling for something that happened, but they are afraid of taking time off and then losing their job. As a society we are so overworked, and we need a solid support system.

“I can’t speak for other agencies, but I’m glad that here at the Will County Health Department Behavioral Health Division we have counseling available until 6 PM Tuesdays and Thursday, as well as all day Saturday from 8 to 4.”

In the final analysis, Zambrano and Perez stated that everyone needs to be a team in looking out for any kind of possible child abuse. “I really do believe,” Zambrano says, “in the ‘It Takes a Village’ philosophy. We all need to be out there, watching each other’s backs.”

Perez agreed, saying that “we must be good to one-another. If we aren’t, who’s going to do it?”

If you suspect any kind of child abuse situation that should be investigated, you can contact the Will County Health Department Child and Adolescent Services Intake Number at 815-727-5911. You can also call 1-800-25 ABUSE, or 1-800-252-2873.


Number of views (821)/Comments (0)

Tags:
Family Health Services Staff

Family Health Services Staff

Family Health Services
>

Family Health Services

The Family Health Services Team strives to improve the quality of life by promoting health and preventing illness through education and exceptional client-centered services to the diverse community of Will County.
Health Department Divisions

Authors

Family Health Services News
Health Department Employees Have Room to Grow

Health Department Employees Have Room to Grow

New Organic to Grow Vegetables, Promote Wellness

Will County Health Department employees with a green thumb can soon till the soil at work.  At least 35 employees have signed up for an innovative program spearheaded by the agency’s employee wellness committee and the University of Illinois Extension.
Add Vaccines to Your Back-To-School Checklist

Add Vaccines to Your Back-To-School Checklist

August is National Immunizations Awareness Month

The Will County Health Department is reminding parents to include immunizations on their child's back-to-school checklist.  Immunizations are equally important for college students.
FIRST RABID BAT OF SEASON FOUND IN WILMINGTON, SEVEN PEOPLE RECOMMENDED FOR TREATMENT

FIRST RABID BAT OF SEASON FOUND IN WILMINGTON, SEVEN PEOPLE RECOMMENDED FOR TREATMENT

Dog Found Playing with Bat in Backyard

Bat captured May 20th, tested positive for rabies May 22nd.
TEEN PREGNANCY PREVENTION MONTH AT BOLINGBROOK HIGH SCHOOL

TEEN PREGNANCY PREVENTION MONTH AT BOLINGBROOK HIGH SCHOOL

Students Asked to Fill Out Cards with Long Term Goals

Over 700 teens filled "#goals#dreams" cards at Humphrey Middle School and Bolingbrook High School.
TEEN PREGNANCY PREVENTION MONTH AT BOLINGBROOK'S HUMPHREY MIDDLE SCHOOL

TEEN PREGNANCY PREVENTION MONTH AT BOLINGBROOK'S HUMPHREY MIDDLE SCHOOL

Activities Will Move to Bolingbrook High School on Monday

Students encouraged to fill out cards concerning their hopes, dreams, and where they see themselves in five and ten years.
TEEN PREGNANCY PREVENTION DAYS IN VALLEY VIEW SCHOOL DISTRICT

TEEN PREGNANCY PREVENTION DAYS IN VALLEY VIEW SCHOOL DISTRICT

Will County Health Educators Participate in Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month

“Making a Difference” and “Making Proud Choices” days during the lunch periods at the Valley View School District’s Hubert Humphrey Middle School and Bolingbrook High School.
NATIONAL NURSES WEEK: FOUR WILL COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT STARS

NATIONAL NURSES WEEK: FOUR WILL COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT STARS

Ten Years-Plus Experience for Each in Family Health Services

Left to Right: RNs and BSNs May Liang, Lou Lamdagan, Nicole Collins, and Maria Reyes.
WILL COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT RECOMMENDS DIABETES PREVENTION AND DIABETES PROGRAMS

WILL COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT RECOMMENDS DIABETES PREVENTION AND DIABETES PROGRAMS

Lifestyle Changes Right Now Can Make a Difference Down the Road

To reduce the burden of diabetes, the Will County Health Department encourages community members to take advantage of the local Diabetes Prevention Programs.
BEING ALERT FOR CHILD ABUSE SITUATIONS REQUIRES VILLAGE EFFORT

BEING ALERT FOR CHILD ABUSE SITUATIONS REQUIRES VILLAGE EFFORT

Child Abuse a More Complicated Issue; More Eyes Needed

Awareness for emotional abuse needed as well as for physical abuse.
1234