Saturday, 14 May 2011

SBS: Texas: Child abuse not always visible

May 11, 2011 | |
Many of the children in the South Plains who have been abused carry no easily visible scars or bruises.
In 2010, Covenant Health System esti-mates doctors saw roughly 25 confirmed cases of child abuse.
Most of those were shaken baby syndrome, said Amy Campbell, Covenant Pediatric Trauma surgeon. Shaking a baby can cause severe head trauma, resulting in brain damage or even death.
University Medical Center experienced similar numbers in 2009, said Eric Finley, media relations coordi-nator. However, that’s not what Child Protective Services sees.
A majority of cases reported — roughly 60 percent — are in-stances of neglect. “Most neglect cases don’t wind up in hospitals,” said Paul Zimmerman, a CPS public information officer.
But the effects of neglect can be just as devastating. “It tends to be cyclic,” Zimmerman said. “The question is how do you stop the cycle.” Hospitals and other organizations address abuse like shaken baby syndrome by passing out pamphlets and videos that provide parents with ways to cope with their frustration. They use the same techniques to prevent neglect. But the issue can be complicated be-cause there are different types of neglect, including emotional, physical, medical and supervisional.
Organizations prevent neglect not by telling new parents what not to do, but by instead focusing on what a good parents does do. Renee Morales, executive director of Teen Parents of Lubbock, said she strives to prevent neglect by bringing young parents together with positive mentors.
The teens listen to speakers like a pe-diatrician who discuss signs their baby may be sick, which could prevent medi-cal neglect. Morales also is always on hand to answer questions about diaper rash or how to properly clean a bottle. She explained that many parents, particularly the younger ones, don’t intend to neglect their children.“Sometimes they just don’t know,” Morales said.

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