New Study Details Benefits of Interventions for Child Abuse/Neglect

The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has declared that interventions to prevent and reduce child maltreatment, neglect, and abuse did not have enough scientific and clinical support in order to be deemed useful. Therefore, the USPSTF could not recommend these strategies as part of its aim to reduce child abuse. This determination was made nearly a decade ago, and since that time, several studies have been conducted to find out exactly what benefits or consequences result from interventions aimed at reducing child abuse. Heidi D. Nelson of the Pacific Northwest Evidence-Based Practice Center at the Oregon Health & Science University took the initiative to analyze these studies in order to compile evidence in support of child abuse counseling and interventions. She hoped that negative outcomes, such as posttraumatic stress, emotional abuse, anxiety, sexual abuse, victimization, drug or alcohol misuse, depression, suicide, and death could be decreased in this most vulnerable segment of our population.

For her examination, Nelson examined 11 studies overall and looked at rates of hospitalization, emergency care, Child Protective Services (CPS) involvement, assault, abuse, preventive child care, and immunizations. She found that although some of the results were modest, they were still positive. In sum, all of the studies Nelson examined showed reductions in CPS reports/involvement, hospitalizations, emergency services, and abuse. Also, rates of well-child care and immunizations increased for those who received early interventions. Most significantly, childhood developmental outcomes improved and child mortality rates dropped. Nelson noted that these findings provide hard evidence of the benefits of early abuse interventions as the data she reviewed was based on long-term follow-ups, some as long as 15 years after the intervention. Some areas that were not reviewed in this analysis include intimate partner violence and primary care identification of abuse. These areas should be explored in order to determine if early interventions and home visitations designed to address these can also decrease neglect and abuse. Therefore, said Nelson, “Additional research on interventions to prevent child abuse and neglect is needed.”

Reference:
Selph, Shelly S., Christina Bougatsos, Ian Blazina, and Heidi D. Nelson. Behavioral interventions and counseling to prevent child abuse and neglect: A systematic review to update the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation. Annals of Internal Medicine 158.3 (2013): 179-90. Print.

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  • Tad

    March 7th, 2013 at 10:41 PM

    This topic makes me so sick. I couldn’t hardly get thru it. To hurt a child like that. Well there are places made for people like that. I just don’t get it. How could someone be that mean to a helpless child. It makes me so mad.

  • VERN

    March 7th, 2013 at 10:45 PM

    I DON’T REALLY SEE HOW HOME VISITS ARE GOING TO HELP ANYONE. JAYCEE DUGGARD (OR WHATEVER HER NAME WAS) WAS IN THAT MANS SHED FOR A BAZILLION YEARS AND THERE WERE ALOT OFHOME VISITS FROM WHAT I UNDERSTAND

    THE ONLY THING THAT IS GOING TO REALLY HELP IS FOR DSS TO QUIT GIVING PEOPLE SO MANY CHANCES TO FIX THERESELVES AND FOR FOSTER CARE TO GET A GRIP ON THE FAMILIES KIDS GO TO LIVE WITH.

    IT DON’T MATTER IF YOU TAKE A KID AWAY FROM A HOME WHERE THEY ARE BEAT IF YOU PUT THEM IN A FOSTER HOME THAT DOES THE SAME THING

  • Wendy

    March 7th, 2013 at 10:48 PM

    I think intimate partner violence is extremely important when looking at whether or not a child will continue the cycle of abuse. If a child sees someone hitting his or her parent and that person is also hitting him/her, he/she is much more likely to become an abuser.

  • Yolanda

    March 7th, 2013 at 10:50 PM

    This article reminds me of a story in our local paper. A man was at a store and hit his child and then dragged him out by the hair. A woman saw him and tried to stop him. The man told her he didn’t care if she did call police and that she could have his kids if she wanted them. I mean, can you even imagine? Just put yourself in that child’s shoes for one second and I guarantee you your mind will flip to something else because it just can’t stand to think of something so horrible. Obviously the community was outraged and the children were taken from the parents. But, isn’t the damage already done by that point?

  • Barrie

    March 7th, 2013 at 10:52 PM

    Child abuse is something i pray about every night and i hope it will stop so soon and that no child ever had to go thru it again. my aunt was abused her whole childhood and she still has problems even at age 87 so if something shows promise of working i say ‘just do it’

  • Michael

    March 8th, 2013 at 3:47 AM

    I can’t understand why there would be those people who wouldn’t think that intervention would be a necessary too to implement when you are dealing with the abuse and neglect of a child. I know that many of us would be reluctant to get involved, but there are agencies, that if they receive a request, will go out and check on a child and hopefully begin the process of ensuring that the child is in a safe environment, and if not helping them get somewhere else. I see no reason under the sun why you wouldn’t do this if you have even half a heart.

  • Nan

    March 9th, 2013 at 5:13 AM

    There are certainly some safety issues that you have to keep in mind of you are planning an intervention in a home where you suspect that there could be abuse going on.
    Not only do you need to do things to keep your own self safe, as there are going to be those who would get pretty defensive and even angry when you start making accusations like this.
    But you also might have to fear for the child’s safety on whose behalf you are intervening. The adult in the home may act great with you but then turn against the child in an even more violent way once you leave.

  • jason greer

    March 11th, 2013 at 2:57 AM

    no matter how strong or weak the results of the study, interventions caouldn’t so any harm could they? they at least give someone an eye into the home, see what is going on in there and a chance to get authorities involved in a situation if you think that this is needed

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