Abstract and Keywords
The true extent of child abuse and neglect is unknown but reports to state agencies indicate over 3 million reports concerning maltreatment of 6 million children made each year. Confirmed reports involved almost 900,000 children in 2005. Yet, less than 30% of the children known to professionals in the community (for example, teachers, physicians in emergency rooms, day care providers) as maltreated are investigated by child protective services. The perplexing dilemma in surveillance and service delivery is how to identify those that need help without spuriously including those who do not. This entry focuses on the definition of maltreatment and provides an overview of the history, etiology, and consequences of child abuse and neglect as well as the current trends and dilemmas in the field.
Keywords: child abuse and neglect, child maltreatment, definitions of maltreatment, etiology of child maltreatment, consequences of child maltreatment, evidence-based practice, disproportionality, cultural competence
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