Toward the NEW NORMAL of “It’s NEVER ok to HIT A CHILD: Actions and Follies 1

log: February 18, 2014

Once a week I will try to put together a list of Materials that come across my computer related to actions that recognize and help move us toward the New Normal of “It’s NEVER ok to HIT A CHILD”.  I will also present and comment on examples of the follies of the old normal.



Positive Moves Toward the NEW NORMAL

Cultural Shift in New Zealand – Toward a New Normal of Not Hitting

Looks like some prevention is possible! After a string of child abuse deaths the Department of Children, Families and Youth is reporting an increase in the number of reports about the potential for abuse of children even before they are born. Also more children are being removed and placed in foster care as a preventive measure. Seems like education might be playing a role – there’s more awareness of vulnerability of newborns and more support for getting involved to help children. It would be interesting to see what sort of campaigns if any have been used to help raise awareness and prompt action of police, health professionals and the general public! Hurray for a change!!

“The agency said the sudden rise was linked to increases in drug addiction among parents and better co-operation with other agencies, particularly with police. In 2008, police started referring to CYF every domestic violence callout in which a child was present.

But it also comes as more people report concerns about babies before they are even born, with referrals rising steadily in the past five years. Today, an expectant mother is nearly twice as likely to be reported to Child, Youth and Family as in 2008.

Most reports came from police and health professionals. However, family, neighbours and the public at large were also more likely to raise the alarm about unborn babies at risk of abuse, the figures show.”

“There is more awareness and concern now about the sheer vulnerability of newborns,” Children’s Commissioner Russell Wills said. “It is in that first year of life that you are most likely to be seriously harmed or killed by someone in your family.”

Dr Wills said a typical case would involve an expectant mother who endured regular physical assaults at her partner’s hand. This would trigger depression and drug or alcohol abuse, sparking concern among her friends, family or midwife.

“We deal with hundreds of these cases every year.”

Education for Medical Professionals  – Good News on Prevention Front

Kosair in Kentucky is moving in the right direction in direction. Though it’s not pre-prevention” it’s at least recognizing that something we took for ‘normal’ ‘IS NOT NORMAL’: the bruising of young children. As described: A bill just introduced in Frankfort may change that by making everyone from pediatricians to EMS crews take a mandatory course on how to spot abuse before it turns deadly.

Only problem here is they seem to be settling for spotting abuse before it turns deadly. I guess the initial damage to the child still has to occur! Questions now is ‘what to do to prevent the initial abuse – the sub-death abuse. There is a great deal of damage that happens before a child is killed! Maybe pediatricians and all childcare workers should receive training in saying to parents and child caretakers “It’s NEVER ok to HIT A CHILD!!” No excuses!! No justifications!!

That missing piece is education, so Wuchner wrote an amendment making it mandatory for key medical practitioners to take a one-hour course on recognizing potential child abuse.

“Even cases that seem this striking to us are dismissed as being accidental,” said Dr. Melissa Currie, the chief of Kosair Charities’ division of pediatric forensic medicine.

Currie said recognizing bruising in children’s torso, ears and neck is key.

“Bruising in babies is not normal. This is not something that has been widely understood. This is new information in the medical community,” Currie said.


New Mexico Legislature Responds to Child Abuse Deaths

Omaree Varela was 9 years old when his mother allegedly kicked him to death. As is usual, this was not the first time police were called to investigate Omaree’s maltreatment at the hands of his caretakers. Now that he’s dead, the usual litany of legislative and administrative fixes is recited: more staff, smaller caseloads, more reporting, and more power for CPS to remove children. The usual culprits are blamed: poverty, culture, and lack of collaboration among agencies. We know all this. Seems the norm is “it’s ok to hit your children” just don’t do it so hard you kill them.” No one seems to question that. No one seems to see the need for primary prevention, just after the child is damaged intervention. Around and around.

Bexar County Texas Child Deaths

Former Judge, now head of Texas Department of Family and Protective Services said that just because children die after CPS investigates a family doesn’t mean the system is not working. Maybe first investigation was a long time ago, maybe different child. Come on, what’s the  ‘system’ supposed to do! County still has the second highest number of confirmed child abuse victims (and we know this is the tip of the iceberg) and highest number of revictimizations in the state. So I guess the system is working. Still a “It’s ok to harm children. We won’t stop you!

Deaths of Children in Custody Shame UK

In the UK, 33 children died while in custody. Seems there is an investigation being held into deaths of 18-24 year olds (adults) who died while in custody; but it is not investigating the deaths of those under 18. According to the Guardian Report, “Successive governments seem to have taken the view that children in prison are somehow ‘without’ society and undeserving of the protection afforded to children in the wider community. If we don’t value children’s lives the same as anyone else’s, then I guess it must be OK to harm them and get on with our lives, after all, they are only children.

Mississippi Child Tortured to Death

11-year-old Tyler Raines died. His body covered with bruises from head to toe, he was slowly being starved (weighed 57 pounds when he died). Home-schooled for two years, they report. I am sure he received a great education during these two years! Others were not allowed to see him. Didn’t this ring a bell? Would someone in New Zealand have called authorities? No. Another child dies! It’s just discipline gone bad! The old norm stays in effect!

Baby Brianna’s Mother could be released in two years

What in the world were they thinking! Oh, it’s our child; we can do what we want! The community was shocked? Why weren’t they vigilant! Why didn’t people know you shouldn’t do this?

Baby Brianna was not quite 6-months old when she died, July 19, 2002.

The night before, her father, Andrew Walters, and uncle, Steven Lopez, reportedly threw the small child around their house and raped her.

Her mother, Stephanie Lopez, let it happen, authorities said.

Baby Brianna’s tiny body had bite marks, broken bones and evidence that she was healing from previous injuries.