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October 2010Vol. 11, No. 8New User Manuals Highlight Community Partnership and First Responders

The Children's Bureau has developed two new publications in its popular User Manual series. The two resources, available for free download from the Child Welfare Information Gateway website, provide new insight into the topics of child protection and child maltreatment investigations. 

Community Partnerships: Improving the Response to Child Maltreatment discusses how communities, organizations, agencies, neighborhoods, and individuals can coordinate their efforts and create a safer and more stable environment for children. Based on the belief that multidisciplinary approaches are essential to address the challenges of today's families in crisis or at risk, the manual highlights the importance of responsive family- and community-centered approaches for the delivery of services and supports. This manual also illustrates the planning process by providing step-by-step guidance on how to establish and sustain a community partnership and measure results. The guide also includes eight appendices that offer checklists, examples of community partnerships, and a resource listing.

The Role of First Responders in Child Maltreatment Cases: Disaster and Nondisaster Situations is written for community professionals called to assess cases of possible child abuse. Roles and responsibilities of different first responders (emergency medical technicians, law enforcement officers, and child protective service workers) are outlined. In particular, this publication underscores the importance of identifying signs of child maltreatment within the context of domestic violence or substance abuse. Risks of child trauma in a postdisaster situation are also addressed, along with issues relevant to disaster preparation and planning. This manual provides basic guidelines for conducting interviews with children and preparing for testimony in court. Appendices offer a detailed description of signs of abuse, criteria for distinguishing various types of injuries, home visit safety tips, and more.

Both manuals are part of the Child Abuse and Neglect User Manual series published by the Children's Bureau's Office on Child Abuse and Neglect in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. To download a copy of any manual in this collection, please visit the Child Welfare Information Gateway website: