• July/August 2001
  • Vol. 2, No. 4

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National Resource Center on Child Maltreatment Convenes Symposium on Child Neglect

Child neglect, the most prevalent form of child maltreatment, was the topic of a national symposium that took place July 31 to August 2 in Baltimore. The symposium was co-sponsored by the National Resource Center on Child Maltreatment (NRCCM) and the Maryland Department of Human Resources.

NRCCM is part of the Children's Bureau Training and Technical Assistance Network and is operated by the Child Welfare Institute and ACTION for Child Protection. The symposium, Child Neglect: Promising Approaches to Achieve Safety, Permanency, and Well Being, convened professionals who are concerned about policy, program, practice, and research issues affecting child neglect.

The opening presentation, "What Do We Know and What Don't We Know?" summarized the current state of knowledge concerning child neglect etiology, prevention, consequences, and intervention strategies. Knowledge gaps and their impact on policy, program design, and practice were highlighted and examined by Howard Dubowitz, M.D., M.S., Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and Director of the Child Protection Program for the University of Maryland Medical System.

Workshops addressed such issues as defining neglect, child neglect fatalities, issues shaping the use of social support networks, and the assessment and use of protective factors as a vital component of practice design and implementation.

A plenary panel on "The State of Child Neglect Research: Past, Present and Future" included a presentation by Diane DePanfilis, Ph.D., M.S.W., Associate Professor, University of Maryland School of Social Work, and Co-Director of the School's Center for Families. Dr. DePanfilis offered a review of past and present research strategies, trends, and areas of emphasis. She introduced selected Federal Child Neglect Research Consortium grantees' research projects that may enhance child neglect understanding and the ability to respond more effectively. Presenters from these grant projects offered highlights from their work in progress.

Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D., Medical Director of Provincial Programs in Children's Mental Health for the Alberta Mental Health Board, and head of the Child Trauma Academy, presented a plenary session, "Early Brain Development and Child Neglect." He examined the issue of whether the negative effect of child neglect on early brain development should be considered primarily as a public health issue or as a child maltreatment issue.

At the closing plenary, Tom Morton, Co-Director of the NRCCM and President and CEO of the Child Welfare Institute, discussed key issues that obstruct our understanding of and response to child neglect. He cited lack of a clear definition of neglect, data driven attempts to use one protocol to address several different phenomena, and focus on immediate versus accrued harm as examples of the need for a paradigm realignment within the child welfare community. He challenged the audience by asking, "Are we people changing or people processing?"

Conference participants received a copy of the new NRCCM monograph, The CPS Response to Child Neglect: An Administrator's Guide to Theory, Policy, Program Design and Case Practice, edited by Thomas D. Morton and Barry Salovitz, August 2001. The monograph is available from NRCCM at a cost of $12.95 by calling (770) 935-8484, or faxing an order to (770) 935-0344.

View the symposium brochure online at: http://www.gocwi.org/nrccm/conferences.html. (Editor's note: this link is no longer available.)

Related Item

Visit the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information for the following related item (http://nccanch.acf.hhs.gov):

  • Acts of Omission: An Overview of Child Neglect

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