Child Abuse Prevention

Child Abuse Prevention Awareness

Child Abuse Prevention

Prevention is the best way to reduce child abuse and neglect and improve the lives of children and families.  MDCPS administers several programs dedicated to child abuse prevention and protection in Mississippi:

  • Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) programs offer activities to the general public about preventing child abuse and neglect. In addition, these local programs also provide services to at-risk families.
  • Child Protective Services is the resource through which a report of child abuse is investigated, criminal charges may be filed, and the child may be removed from the home for the child’s safety

Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention

Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) programs should have some activities available to the general population, such as public awareness and education about preventing child abuse and neglect. In addition, programs should also target services to vulnerable families that are at risk of abuse or neglect.  These families include:

  • Parents
  • Parents and/or children with disabilities
  • Racial and ethnic minorities
  • Members of underserved or underrepresented groups
  • Fathers

CBCAP programs are authorized to fund child abuse prevention programs in their service area that provide a multitude of services and supports.  These services and programs can include:

  • Comprehensive support for parents
  • Promoting the development of parenting skills
  • Improving family access to formal and informal resources
  • Supporting needs of parents with disabilities through respite or other activities
  • Providing referrals for early health and development services
  • Promoting meaningful parent leadership

Programs can also finance the development of a continuum of preventive services through public-private partnerships; finance the startup, maintenance, expansion, or redesign of child abuse prevention programs; maximize funding through leveraging funds, and finance public education activities that focus on the promotion of child abuse prevention.

The key federal legislation addressing child abuse and neglect prevention is the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), initially enacted in 1974. This act has been amended several times in the last 31 years and was most recently amended and reauthorized June 25, 2003, by the Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of 2003.

The Office of Child Abuse and Neglect (OCAN) at the Children’s Bureau, Administration for Families, United States Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS) is responsible for overseeing and managing the CBCAP program. OCAN provides support to state lead agencies through funds from the National Resource Center or FRIENDS, which can provide training and technical assistance to lead agencies based on the requirements of the CBCAP program.

What are some indicators of abuse?

Emotional and verbal Abuse is anything said or done that is hurtful or threatening to a child and is the most challenging form of maltreatment to identify. Examples include:

  • Name-calling (“You’re stupid”)
  • Belittling (“I wish you were never born”)
  • Destroying child’s possessions or pets
  • Threatens to harm child or people they care about (“I’m going to choke you” or “I’ll break your arm”)
  • Locking a child in a closet or box
  • Rejecting a child
  • Isolating a child

Sexual abuse is any inappropriate touching by a friend, family member, anyone having ongoing contact, and/or a stranger. Examples include:

  • Touching a child’s genital area
  • Any penetration of a child
  • Allowing a child to view or participate in pornography
  • Prostitution, selling your child for money, drugs, etc.
  • Forcing a child to perform oral sex acts
  • Masturbating in front of a child
  • Having sex in front of a child

Physical abuse is any contact that results in bodily harm, such as bruising, abrasions, broken bones, internal injuries, burning, missing teeth, and skeletal injuries. Examples include:

  • Hitting or slapping a child with an extension cord, hands, belts, fists, broom handles, brushes, etc.
  • Putting child into hot water
  • Cutting the child with a knife or any other sharp object
  • Shaking or twisting arms or legs or yanking a child by the arm
  • Putting tape over a child’s mouth
  • Tying a child up with rope or cord
  • Throwing a child across a room or down the stairs

Neglect means not meeting the basic needs of the child and is the most common form of maltreatment:

  • Medical – not giving a child life-sustaining medicines, over-medicating, and not obtaining special treatment devices deemed necessary by a physician
  • Supervision – leaving child/children unattended and leaving child/children in the care of other children too young to protect them (depending upon the maturity of the child)
  • Clothing and Hygiene – dressing children inadequately for weather and persistent skin disorders resulting from improper hygiene
  • Nutrition – lack of sufficient quantity or quality of food, letting a child consistently complain of hunger, and allowing the child to rummage for food
  • Shelter – having structurally unsafe housing, inadequate heating, and unsanitary housing conditions

For additional information on Child Abuse Prevention programs, please contact MDCPS here.