Child Abuse Policy and Practice;
A Comparison of the United States and Japan
Child Abuse Policy and Practice; A Comparison of the United States and Japan
Child abuse is a present problem in every town, city, and country around the world. Child abuse crosses all races, religions and creeds. This intent of this paper is to compare and contrast child abuse law in the United States and Japan. Both the United States and Japan currently have child abuse policies and statues. The first federal laws in each country will be focused on. The Child Abuse and Prevention Act was the first federal law to address child abuse, while the Child Abuse Prevention Law was the first of its kind in Japan. Research was obtained from journal articles, periodicals, and websites. This paper will also discuss the cultural and societal influences that are contained in each country's child abuse policies. Lastly, this paper will draw some conclusions about how cultural attitudes influence practice with children and families.
Child Abuse Policy and Practice in the United States
The history of child abuse law in the United States did not begin to formulate until the 1960s. Although child abuse was surely occurring before that time, a conversation and discourse did not begin until radiologist C. Henry Kempe brought this topic to the forefront. In 1962, C.Henry Kempe conducted a survey of eighty-eight hospitals in which he identified 302 children who had been "battered." (Myers 2008) The survey was the first of its kind to define the "battered child syndrome". (Myers 2008) The survey geographically catalogued physically abused children, many of whom suffered multiple injuries. While earlier discoveries of the child abuse phenomenon had not taken hold with the general public, Kempe’s report began a strong national effort to find ways to protect children. (Myers 2008) Specifically, it led to the creation of child abuse reporting systems, to ensure that whenever a "battered child" was even suspected, the case would be reported and measures taken to protect the child. (Myers 2008) By 1966 all fifty states had passed legislation regulating child abuse, all of which mandated reporting. (Myers 2008) By 1986, every state but one required reporting of neglect, and forty-one states made explicit reference to reporting of emotional or psychological abuse. (Myers 2008) Initially mandated reporting was limited to physicians, but this was eventually extended to include teachers, nurses, counselors, and the general public. (Myers 2008) The state mandated reporting laws resulted in an enormous rise in child abuse reports across the United States. In 1962, when Kempe and his colleagues published their report, there had been about 10,000 child abuse reports. (Myers 2008) By 1976, child abuse reports had risen to more than 669,000, and, by 1978 to 836,000. (Myers 2008) By 1992, there were almost three million reports of child abuse were filed nationwide. (Myers 2008) To understand the impact of child abuse reports on child welfare agencies, it is important to understand what was thought to be the mission of child welfare agencies prior to this time. There had been a definite concern with child abuse during the time of the early 19th century children’s aid societies, however the issue went dim in the public eye, and was a minor concern from 1920 into the 1960’s. (Myers 2008) It should be noted that in the beginning child abuse was not central to the traditional approach of child welfare in the United States. However once mandated child abuse reporting began, the role of child protection was transformed into a primary need of child welfare. This new focus was caused by an influx of child abuse reports that abruptly redirected the goals of child welfare agencies. (Myers 2008) Today, in most states, child abuse is the central concern of the public child welfare system. With the exception of...
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