Every person has had the opportunity to experience childhood whether it was bad or good. For some, childhood may have been awesome without any worries and then there are those whose childhood experience has been nothing but stress and family hardship in which those families ended up turning to public intervention for help. This policy analysis will elaborate on child maltreatment, who is impacted by it, The effect of maltreatment, and how it interacts with other social problems. Child maltreatment is a major social problem and it dates back from the 1700’s till the present date. It is divided into 4 categories which are sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect. Wissow defines child maltreatment as “an intentional harm or a threat of harm to a child by someone acting in a role of care taker”. Sexual abuse is the inappropriate touching of a child or viewing of explicit sexual material through an older person. Physical abuse is inflicting bodily injury by force. Emotional abuse is demeaning or overly distant behavior by parent that interferes with a child’s normal social or psychological development. Neglect which is considered to be the most life threatening is the failure of a parent to provide their child with shelter, food, support or medical care. Approximately 1.4 million U.S children under the age of 18 experience some form of maltreatment each year. At one point of time it was left up to the family as being held accountable for the caring of children, but as time evolved public intervention has began to step in if a family is considered to be incapable of care or a risk to a child’s well being. In connection to children and families, public intervention has been mandated and guided by social welfare policies so known as Child welfare policies.
In the 1700’s when parents could not care for and support their children they sent them off to work in a factory or for other families. This was labeled as child labor. Religious groups and others were not happy about the children being forced to work long hours so they began to press for reforms. Charles Dickens an English writer wrote the book Oliver Twist which helped publicize the cruelty of child labor. As a result the first orphanage was established and from 1802 to 1878 multiple laws were passed that shortened the working hours and raised the age limit. By the 1900’s the first federal children’s orphanages were established to give shelter to children who parents were deceased or no longer deemed fit to take care of the child.
In the year of 1935 the Social Security Act of 1935 was established on August 14, 1935. As a result several programs came into act such as the old-age insurance, unemployment insurance, and Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) in which was originally known as Aid to Dependent Children (ADC) but later on in 1996 was replaced by Temporary assistance to needy families (TANF). During the 1950’s children were denied Aid to Dependent Children benefits if their mothers were unwed. This brought about The Fleming Rule in 1960. In 1961 the amendment to the Social Security Act established the creation of Foster Care of Aid to Dependent Children where the states received funding for foster care payments. Foster care was initially created as a temporary living arrangement for children who were at a high risk of poor life outcomes. The Social Security act was amended again in 1967 making it mandatory that all states have AFDC-Foster Care. There are several laws and acts that were passed in the best interest of children but I won’t touch basis on them all. The last act that I would like to discuss is The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) (public Law 93-247). This act was passed in 1974. Each state were required to establish investigations systems and child abuse reporting procedures in order to receive the federal funding from the government for child abuse prevention and treatment.
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