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ChildWelfare Issues

Fromreading this book, what are your thoughts and feelings about parentswho abuse/neglect their children? What might be some of the causes?How might you relate to these parents as a social worker?

Thebook &quotA child called ‘It`&quot by David Pelzer is a book thatexplores the various social issues that children face in the hands ofabusive parents. Some of the issues he tackles include child neglectand abuse, deprivation of basic and developmental needs andself-esteem issues. From reading this book, I feel that parents whoabuse or neglect their children are irresponsible. The coreobligation of a parent is to protect, care and provide all the basicneeds of their children. It is the responsibility of parents to treatall children equally both socially, emotionally and physically.Similarly, I feel that parents who abuse or neglect their childrenare inhumane. It is against humanity for a parent, furthermore, amother to expose their children to torture such as laying the childon a lit stove, suffocating the child using ammonia or any otherchemicals or depriving the child food. A parent should be humane andinstead be there to protect the child from those who mistreat thechild. Parents should punish their children responsibly and notpunish them inhumanely.

Mythought as a social worker is that the parents should be counseledand thought on how to bring up a child and the effects associatedwith child abuse. If after the counseling session they continue withchild abuse, strict measures should be taken in accordance with thelaw and policies protecting children.

Someof the causes of child abuse include social stress. Stress caused bydifferent social conditions may raise the chances of parentsmistreating the child. These social conditions include illness,unemployment, large family size unemployment, poverty amongst others.Alcohol and drug abuse are more common in parents that abuse theirchildren for instance in the case of Dave. Alcohol can increaseparents` violent behavior which s mostly directed to their children.Certain characteristics of children can result in child abuse forinstance rude behavior, stubbornness, developmental disabilitiesbecause they increase parenting stress hence increasing the risk ofmaltreatment[ CITATION Pel10 l 2057 ].

Socialisolation is another cause of child abuse. Most parents who abusetheir children rarely involve themselves with other community membersand family members. This social isolation locks the abusive parentsfrom support systems that would have helped them in their parentingstyles. Family structure, for instance, where either the wife orhusband dominates on matters about the family or making importantdecisions, there is a high likelihood for child abuse than familieswhere all parents take responsibility of making decisions or leadingthe family.

Asa social worker when we learn of a case of child abuse, we relate ina friendly, professional but still strict and inquisitive manner withthe abusive parent because we need information on what is happening.The first step is talking to the parent to find out the contributingfactors to child abuse or neglect. Secondly, we meet the child withthe parent and later when the parent is away to enable the child toreveal the truth without fear of getting punished again. Socialworkers should counsel abusive parents to come up with bettersolutions, place the neglected children in loving homes and helpparents and children make good use of the welfare system.

Ofall the examples of neglect and abuse presented in the book, whichwould be the most difficult for you to deal with as a child welfareworker? Which would be the most challenging? Which would be theeasiest? Why?

Someof the neglect and abuses presented in this book include an extendedstay in a corner in mother`s bedroom while others go out to play,staring at the mirror and repeating the phrase &quotI am a bad boy,&quotand beatings. Other forms of maltreatment include starvations, longhours in cold baths, isolation from the privileges his brothersreceived such as Christmas and Halloween presents, sleeping in thegarage, wearing torn school uniforms, suffocating him using ammoniaand other chemicals amongst others.

Fromthe above abuses and neglects, the most difficult to deal with as asocial worker is starvation and suffocation using harmful chemicals.The reason to why this sounds challenging is because it is notphysical hence one cannot quickly notice unless the abused childbecomes free to open up and reveal. Taking the example of Dave, henever wanted his mother to be viewed as a bad mom, and similarly, hewas aware of the rough punishment he was to face if his motherrealizes he had shared this with anyone. Therefore, as a socialworker, it couldn`t be easy to learn on these abuses and come up withmeasures to address them.

Theeasiest abuse/ neglect that is easiest to deal with as a socialworker is beatings and wearing torn uniforms to school. These arephysical forms of child maltreatment and as a social worker even ifthe child or family refuses to talk about them, one can easily noticethe bruises and the torn clothes. Therefore, the social worker caneasily come up with ways to help the abused child such as counselingthe abusive parent or even take the child to a loving home if theabusive parent is not ready to change.

Discussthe risk and protective factors for Dave, his mother, and the familyunit. Also, explain how you might build upon existing protectivefactors if you were working with the family.

Therisk factors for Dave include the particular characteristics thatwere associated with him as compared to his older brothers. Dave waslouder as compared to his other brothers and was fond to committingsome small mistakes like forgetting what his mother had asked himforcing him to as her to clarify. His loudness contributed to himbeing punished more often as compared to his brothers. Similarly, hisage resulted in his neglect. Before his other two brothers were born,he was the last born which led to his neglect by his mother ascompared to his older brothers. Other risk factors includeanti-social peer group and childhood trauma.

Riskfactors for Dave`s mother include substance abuse. Dave`s mother usedto drink alcohol and was always depressed which made her so violent.She always directed her violence to Dave whenever she was drunk. Lackof parenting skills is another risk factor that made Dave`s motherabuse and neglects him. She had poor parenting style like directingher stress to her children, beating her children mercilessly forminor mistakes, starving Dave whenever he messed amongst othersinstead of counseling her children whenever they messed and punishedthem responsibly where it was appropriate. Some of the risk factorsfor the family unit include drug abuse by the father, Dave`s dadbeing a coward towards Dave`s abuse and Dave`s brothers neglectingtheir brother without any logic reason.

Dave`sprotective factors include positive self-esteem he always believedhe had to survive, an active coping style to his mother`smaltreatment, above-average intelligence where Dave uses a wet rag toavoid suffocation from ammonia as well as when he used rags to stopthe bleeding caused by his mother stabbing. Other protective factorsfor Dave include easy temperament, excellent social skills, positivedisposition and having hobbies and interests. Dave`s mom protectivefactors include parental reconciliation with Dave on the history ofabuse when the social worker visited as well as her dominion overtheir family as compared to the husband. Other protective factors forDave`s family include warm parent-child relationship, supportive homeenvironment, extended family involvement and support, high parentaleducation and family expectations of pro-social behavior.

Asa social worker, I will build on encouraging and counseling theparents on the importance of warm parent-child relationship as wellas reconciling with the child after a history of abuse. To children,I will encourage them on the importance of having positiveself-esteem, above- average intelligence as well as an active copingstyle. I will train these kids on various social skills and clarifyto them the importance of the above listed protective factors.

Discussthree distinct child welfare issues addressed in this book.

Childabuse/neglect issue

Childabuse refers to any act or failure to play the part of a parent orcaretaker to a child, which results in emotional or physical harm,death or sexual exploitation. Child abuse is explored in this bookwhere the author takes us through his childhood life and how hismother and father failed to give him the care they are supposed to.Some of the child abuse/neglect practices tackled in this bookinclude beatings, long cold baths, suffocation using ammonia,starvation, isolation from sharing meals and playing with hisbrothers, wearing torn uniforms, denial of Halloween and Christmaspresents amongst others.

Deprivationof basic and developmental needs

Thisbook has explained on how Dave was denied basic and developmentalneeds. Basic needs refer to those fundamental requirements that onecannot survive without. They include food, shelter, and clothing.Dave was deprived of all the three basic needs by his mother.

Developmentalneeds are those requirements that a human being needs to maintain thecurrent level of development as well as allow them to move to thenext stage For example, needs that are required to move fromchildhood to adulthood. Dave was denied social and emotionaldevelopment by being deterred from interacting with his brothers inplaying. Dave was also denied parental affection and encouragement tomaintain a positive self-esteem.


Theauthor of this book also addresses some of the self-esteem issues. Headdresses issues that lower a child`s esteem. Some of these mattersinclude regular punishment for Dave, isolation from his brothers,preventing him from associating with his young brother Kevin, whichsometimes made him feel inferior even though he still felt he had tostrive to survive.


Pelzer, D. (2010). A child called it: One child`s courage to survive. Health Communications.