05 November 2012
Discipline vs. Child abuse in the United States
It coats newspaper stands, is questioned on television, and congests our court rooms. On average five children die from it every day. More than 800,000 children living in the United States fall victim to it, of which 27,000 are found in Tennessee alone(Centers,2012). Many parents find it easier to eliminate disobedience thru physical punishment, but when used incorrectly it may transpire into abuse. Confusing punishment and discipline can at times be considered a cause of child abuse. Discipline is sustaining obedience and removing negative behaviors when they occur, where as punishment is a tool used after a problem surfaces. Investigation demonstrates that child abuse cases rely on punishment rather than discipline.
The discipline should fit the crime, while remaining within regulations and must not be detrimental to the child’s health or welfare. Organizations such as The Department of Human Services (DHS) and The Division of Family-Child Services (DFCS) are set up to alleviate any doubts or questions that may present themselves. While these departments are in place to assist in proper decision making, human errors can still occur, such as the case with 5-year old Terrell Peterson.
One of the worst recorded child abuse cases in Fulton County, Terrell was tortured and beaten while his case was assumingly under state supervision and he became one of 800 children to die between 1995 and 1998 due to violations in state mandated protocols. In 1992, Complaints of child abuse began when Terrell’s mother was witnessed countlessly ingesting drugs while pregnant. Telephone calls continued to pour in with complaints of denying food and water to children, leaving children unsupervised in locked rooms and incisive drug use. 11 different caseworkers and 10 supervisors at DFCS in Georgia handled these complaints, failing to intervene until four years later,... [continues]
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