LETTERS: Addressing child abuse; Immigrants revictimized

Addressing child abuse

Child maltreatment and neglect continue to be a universal problem; it emerges when a parent or caregiver maltreats a child physically, emotionally, sexually or psychologically.

Unfortunately, it is a problem that will continue to exist.

Parents maltreating and neglecting their children is not done by choice. Many parents and/ or caregivers encounter different challenges with which they are not able to cope. Unfortunately, children are caught in the middle of these situations and are left to face the consequences of their parents or caregivers’ actions.

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services reported 280,911, alleged victims of child abuse and neglect in 2018, and of those 66,382 were confirmed to be child abuse and neglect.

Children under the age of 3 are the most vulnerable victims of abuse. Nationwide, states report that more than one-quarter (28.5%) of victims are younger than 3 years old.

However, the abuse rate is highest for children younger than 1 year old at 25.3 per 1,000 children in the population of the same age. In addition, 23.45 of children are between the ages of 4 and 7 years, 18.7% are between 8 and 11, 17.3% are between 12 and 15 and 6.2% are between 16 and 17.

A possible solution to decrease the consequences of child maltreatment and neglect is to establish parenting training programs within their communities. A program that parents can utilize is the Triple P — Positive Parenting Program.

This program can provide effective parental strategies to all parents. According to Richard P. Barth, dean of the University of Maryland School of Social Work, this parenting program offers a universal framework that could be used to guide the future development of parenting programs.

Erika Davila

Graduate student of social work Policy analysis class

Our Lady of the Lake University, Edinburg

Immigrants revictimized

Must a child lose his life to call attention to government to change policies when it comes to the health and safety of migrant children? Policies and a humanitarian effort are in dire need to stop the trauma and revictimization of migrant children. Migrant children are fleeing from their countries where they have been victimized with poverty, violence and human trafficking.

It should be a concern that migrant children who are separated for long periods of time from their parents during the immigration process suffer from depression and anxiety. Additionally, migrant children who remain in shelters are at risk of post traumatic stress disorder. Children are threatened with mental health issues. The more time they remain institutionalized, the greater chance they could have an irreversible change in the brain.

Jessica Goodkind Ph.D., a professor in the department of sociology at the University of New Mexico, was surprised to find that family separation was on par with beating and torture in terms of its relationship with mental health. This is one of the driving factors that create psychological distress.

It is crucial to find resources that can lower the risk factors on the mental health of children living in shelters. Clinicians should be creative and practice evidence techniques that have been successful in similar situations.

Children with resiliency can rise from the revictimization with the appropriate resources. Ultimately, children should be protected from prolonged trauma to lessen the impact on their mental health.

Monica Pruitt

Graduate Student Our Lady of the Lake-Rio Grande Valley

Harlingen

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