A Child Called "It"

Topics: Child abuse, Domestic violence, Mandated reporter Pages: 5 (1538 words) Published: June 19, 2013
A Child
Called
“It”
Research Paper

Michelle Smythe
cgilrichard@yahoo.com
Tuesday EDUC 571
S. Rudinsky
10-9-2012

Research Paper1

Child abuse. The words on its own sound horrific! According to the Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) amended by the Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of 2003 (Childhelp.org October 2010), it defines child abuse and neglect as, at the minimum the following: Any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation; (Childhelp.org 2010) or an act of failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm (Childhelp.org October 2010). Most Federal and State child protection laws primarily refer to cases of harm to a child caused by parents or other caregivers (Childhelp.org 2010). Increasing public awareness of the need to ensure the safety and welfare of children led to the passage of the first Federal child protection legislation, the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), in 1974 (Childhelp.org October 2010). Child abuse has had a extensive history. Children unfortunately have been subjects of abuse by their parents, and for many centuries laws failed to protect them. A historical case of child abuse in the 1870’s caught the nation’s attention when a then eight-year old orphan named Mary Ellen Wilson stated she was suffering daily whippings and beatings at her then foster home (Childhelp.org October 2010). There was no organization to protect abused children, so she petitioned the American SPCA – Society for Prevention of Cruelty of Animals (Childhelp.org October 2010). Wilson stated (Childhelp.org October 2010) that “Animals were protected , but children were not, and that children were members of the animal kingdom, and must therefore be protected.” It was because of these statements that the ASPCA DID FINALLY intervene. Mary-Ellen was removed from her foster care and was considered the first case of child abuse in North America. This particular case led to the founding in1874 of the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children (Childhelp.org October 2010). Although is was important to have laws in affect to protect children it was not until radiology and x-rays became a vital component for child abuse and neglect to become recognizable. Every state now has statues known as “mandatory reporting” laws (Childhelp.org October 2010). There are now many organizations along with the “mandated reporters’, such as programs and resources available for children and adolescents who are victims of child abuse.

The incredibly compelling story of Dave Pelzer and A Child Called “It,” is horrific and graphic beyond measure. He struggled to survive and tell his story. Hopefully many children will NEVER have to live through what he had to, and we now have laws and many “mandated reporters” who WILL report when they see the abuse.

Each year nearly there are 3.3 million reports of child abuse in the United States that involve nearly 6 million children (Childhelp.org October 2010). There are many organizations and resources available to detect, diagnosis and protect children who are abused. What seems to be lacking are the tools for the parents to learn how to STOP the abuse they are giving their children. What we can do as educators and school counselors is help our students, but also look to see if there are ways to help the parents.

Many children struggle with the hidden world of abuse. These survivors of abuse have many devices that they use to enable them to survive the abuse. I see many of them as the book…The Little Engines Who Can!! They seem to be able to channel their thoughts and

Research Paper3

powers to another “plane” in life to help them survive and get through. What really happens...

References: Lee, V.,& Hoaken, PN.(2007) Childhood Abuse: New Insights into its Association with
Posttraumatic Stress, Suicidal Ideation, and Aggression. Child
Maltreatment 12 281-98.
Child Abuse Statistics October 2010 Retrieved from http://www.childhelp.org/
Teicher, Martin H., Anderson, Carl M., Polcari, Ann. ( 2010) Childhood maltreatment is
associated with reduced volume in the hippocampal subfields CA3, dentate gyrus, and
subiculum. Harvard Medical School Journal Department of Psychiatry 109 9.
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