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November 2004Vol. 5, No. 9Munchausen by Proxy

Munchausen by proxy (MBP) refers to a form of child maltreatment in which a parent or other primary caretaker repeatedly falsifies, exaggerates, or induces symptoms in a child in order to gain medical attention. A new book by Louisa Lasher and Mary Sheridan serves as a primer on MBP for child welfare workers, as well as for physicians, judges, and law enforcement personnel who might be unfamiliar with this form of child abuse. Munchausen by Proxy: Identification, Intervention, and Case Management presents clear, informative descriptions of MBP, the investigation and confirmation process, and case planning when MBP is confirmed. Interspersed with this information are examples of MBP cases.

The usefulness of this book for child welfare personnel lies in its clear outline of the procedures to be followed when MBP is suspected, including how to gather and report information, suggested interview questions, and steps to take in making the confirmation/disconfirmation decision. In cases in which MBP is confirmed, there is a risk assessment worksheet that can be used to plan for the victim's protection. A chapter on legal activities provides guidance on preparing to present a case of MBP in court, and an appendix provides recommended case plan elements.

Munchausen by Proxy is published by the Haworth Maltreatment and Trauma Press; more information can be found at