Michael Wald Speaks On Rethinking Child Protection
12/2/2011 7:49:49 AM
On November 29, the Schubert Center hosted Stanford University Jackson Eli Reynolds Professor of Law, Emeritus, Michael Wald as part of the Schubert Center's 2011-2012 lecture series Child Well-Being in Challenging Times. In the talk, titled Rethinking Child Protection, he discussed how child protective services should focus on threats to children's physical well-being and that the development of a second system is needed to serve at-risk families of children with developmental challenges. Additionally, he highlighted key areas of achievement that all children should reach by adulthood, including graduating high school, avoiding criminal conviction and incarceration, and delaying parenthood until age 18 or later. He argued that the current systems and intervention programs during early childhood do not improve these outcomes for the "bottom 20 percent" of children, due to their parents' isolation from the larger community. After his talk, Professor Wald was joined by Patricia Rideout, the Director of the Cuyahoga County Department of Juvenile and Family Services, and Dr. Mark Feingold, Associate Professor of Pediatrics at CWRU's School of Medicine, who discussed their experiences working with maltreated children and the Child Protective Service in Cuyahoga County. The Schubert Center and its faculty associates have long been involved in issues of child maltreatment. Director Dr. Jill Korbin, Dr. Claudia Coulton, Dr. David Crampton, and Dr. James Spilsbury studied the impact of neighborhood conditions on child maltreatment and child wellbeing. Read an article on their findings, co-written by former Child Policy Director Molly Irwin.
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Get information about upcoming Schubert Center lectures.
Tags: Children, Family, Parenthood, Violence, Welfare
Child Abuse Increased During the Recession, Study Says
9/19/2011 12:15:48 PM
A study, published this week in Pediatrics and conducted in Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Washington, found that the number of children diagnosed with abusive head trauma in hospitals rose from 8.9 in 100,000 before the recession to 14.7 in 100,000 during the recession. Abusive head trauma, such as Shaken Baby Syndrome, is the leading cause of child death, and previous research suggests that times of stress can lead to increases in child abuse.
The study found 422 cases of abusive head trauma in hospital emergency rooms, with the average age of the child at 9 months. Sixteen percent of the children in the study died due to their injuries. The authors mention that an important factor in the rise in cases of AHT may be that the recession forced many people who had previously not been caretakers to be the primary caretakers for young children. In a MSNBC article on the study, Dr. Rachel P. Berger, one of the authors, notes the importance of teaching parents that it is ok to leave a crying baby safely in a crib and walk away after all basic needs have been taken care of when stressed. She also says that government decreases in programs to help infants and young children may also contribute to increased parental stress.
Schubert Center Director Dr. Jill Korbin has studied child maltreatment for over 35. She is currently editing a volume on C. Henry Kempe, a pediatrician who was the first to identify child abuse in a medical setting.
To read the study, click here.
To read an NPR article on the study, click here.
To read an MSNBC article on the study, click here.
Tags: Children, Early Childhood, Family, Parenthood, Violence
Three Recent Studies on Eating Disorders Show New Trends and Concerns
6/22/2011 8:46:49 AM
Three recent studies on eating disorders show new trends in prevalence of eating disorders internationally and new comorbidities of eating disorders in the United States.
A study from Taiwan published in the Journal of Clinical Nursing found that 16% of boys and 10% of girls ages 10 to 18 had vomited in order to lose weight. Younger children were more likely to report inducing vomiting to lose weight, as 16% of 10 to 12 years olds vomited to lose weight compared to 15% of 13 to 15 year olds and 8% of 16-18 year olds. Self-induced vomiting was more common in adolescents with a sedentary lifestyle, who slept less and who ate unhealthily. Using a computer screen for more than two hours a day, eating fried food everyday and having nighttime snacks increased the odds of vomiting.
Another recent study from the University of North Texas found that pressure from peers to be thin accounts for a significant amount of lost sleep for white female adolescents. Author Katherine Marczyk said “There is a significant amount of research on other areas regarding pressure on adolescent females to minimize body weight, but this pressure as it relates to sleep health is a less-explored topic and its consequences are mostly unknown.”
The Journal of Women’s Health published a study this month on the relationship between pregnancy related depression and eating disorders. A survey of women receiving treatment in a perinatal psychology clinic found that one third of patients reported a history of eating disorders. Postpartum depression has serious consequences for both mothers and their children. Author Dr. Samantha Meltzer-Brody stated “Children of depressed mothers are more likely to develop mental health problems, and children of mothers with an active eating disorder may also be more likely to develop an eating disorder themselves.” The authors also note that pregnancy is a key time for mental health screenings and for helping women get access to mental health treatment services.
Dr. Lucene Wisniewski of the Cleveland Center for Eating Disorders recently gave a talk on current best practices for girls with eating disorders as a part of the Schubert Center’s Girlhood Series. A policy brief on her talk can be downloaded here. Schubert Center Faculty Associate Dr. Eileen Anderson-Fye joined discussants from the Cleveland Clinic and the University School to talk about her work studying eating disorders in adolescent girls in Belize.
To read the study from Taiwan, click here. A press article on the study is also available here.
To read an article on the study on eating disorders and sleep loss, click here.
To read the article on pregnancy-related depression and eating disorders, click here. A popular article on the study can be found here.
Tags: Adolescence, Children, Healthy Eating, Girls, Mental Health, Parenthood
Recent Killings Draw Attention to Mothers Who Kill Their Children
4/21/2011 12:49:27 PM
Last week, a shocking case of a mother who drover her car filled with her four children into the Hudson River made national headlines. However, a series of articles following this event note that parents and particularly mothers are far more common than the public perceives them to be. One such article notes that parents kill their children at least 100 times a year and that mothers are more likely than fathers to kill children under the age of 5.
Schubert Center Director Dr. Jill Korbin has studied women who fatally maltreat their children for over 35 years. In a recent Associated Press article, she noted that, unlike reducing auto fatalities, finding means of preventing these deaths has proved difficult. She does state that society’s desire to be supportive of a “good mother” may result in hesitancy to intervene even when friends and family members may see a mother struggling.
Case Western Medical School professor Dr. Phillip Resnick is a forensic psychologist who has testified in a number of prominent cases, including the 2001 Andrea Yates case. He spoke with NPR about a variety of circumstances in which parents kill their children, including what he calls an “altruistic killing” which occurs when a depressed parent decides to kill his or her children to spare them from the cruelty of the world. In a previous study, he found one in every 33 mothers in the United States is a parent killing his or her child.
To read the Associated Press article that Dr. Korbin contributed to, click here.
To listen to an NPR conversation with Dr. Resnick and two mothers, click here.
Tags: Children, Family, Mental Health, Parenthood, Violence, Welfare
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month
4/14/2011 10:40:22 AM
Since 1983, Congress has declared April National Child Abuse Prevention Month. In 2007, Child Protective Services confirmed 772,000 cases of abused or neglected children, and in 2006, 1,530 children died from maltreatment. In addition to short-term physical injuries, child abuse can cause permanent visual, motor and cognitive impairments as well as long-term mental health impacts.
However, there are protective factors that can be nurtured in order to prevent child abuse. Childwelfare.gov describes 5 protective factors in preventing child maltreatment: nurturing and attachment, knowledge of parenting and of child and youth development, parental resilience, social connections, and concrete supports for parents.
Several Schubert Center Faculty Associates study issues related to child abuse and neglect:
To learn more about National Child Abuse Prevention Month and what you can do, click here.
- Schubert Center Director Dr. Jill Korbin has over 35 years of experience in the field of child maltreatment and neglect, with a focus on child abuse in a cross-cultural setting. She is currently participating in a committee at the Centers for Disease Control to rewrite the parameters defining child abuse. Additionally, she is editing a series of edited volumes on contemporary issues in child maltreatment research and policy.
- Dr. Victor Groza of the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences studies child welfare in the context of adoption.
- Dr. Lolita McDavid in Pediatrics is the medical director of the department of Child Advocacy and Protection at University Hospital’s Case Medical Center.
To learn more about the health effects of child abuse and neglect, click here.
Tags: Children, Family, Parenthood, Welfare
Women Abused During Childhood at Increased Risk for Having Low Birthweight Babies
3/31/2011 9:12:44 AM
A recent study from the University of Washington has found that emotional, sexual, and physical abuse and poverty before age 10 leads to an increased risk of having a low birth weight baby. The study also found links between alcohol and drug use during adolescence and pregnancy and low birth weight.
Children are considered low birth weight if they are born weighing less than 2500 grams. Low birth weight has been linked with a variety of negative impacts to health and development including cerebral palsy, increased rates of conduct disorders, obesity, and increased risk of death before age one.
The study is the first to find a link between maternal childhood maltreatment and low birth weight. The authors also found the childhood maltreatment increased risk of substance abuse during high school and that women who used drugs during high school were more likely to smoke and drink alcohol during later pregnancies. The study is part of a recent trend in looking at the effects of early life experiences on later health outcomes.
Several Schubert Center Faculty Associates study various issues related to low birth weight and child maltreatment.
- Schubert Center Director Dr. Jill Korbin has studied child maltreatment with a focus on child abuse in a cross-cultural setting for 35 years.
- Dr. Maureen Hack studies the outcomes for low birth weight and very low birth weight children. A policy brief on the findings of her research on the impact of low birth weight throughout the lifespan can be downloaded here.
- Dr. H. Gerry Taylor studies the impact of low birth weight and premature birth and future learning and neurological status. A policy brief from a recent talk he gave on early school progress for children with extreme prematurity can be downloaded here.
- Dr. Marilyn Lotas studies the health issues related to low and very low birth weight.
To read the article, click here.
To read a news article about the study, click here.
Tags: Children, Family, Low Birth Weight, Parenthood, Poverty, Violence
Schubert Center associate director weighs in on how to tell if you are too strict with your children
2/8/2011 12:15:13 PM
Schubert Center associate director Dr. Elizabeth J. Short was recently interviewed for a WebMD article on signs a parent may be too strict with their child.
In the article, Dr. Short states that, although Americans tend not to be strict enough with their children, being too strict may also lead to negative outcomes because “They are eager to please and worried about parental approval, so you end up with kids that are anxious and indecisive. Or sometimes they know there is no way they can hit the bar you have set, so they don’t even try.”
The article then provides sixteen signs that parents are being too strict with their children and examples of how parents can recognize these signs. The signs include setting too many rules, setting rules that overstep parental boundaries, not putting in time to help kids successfully follow rules, not giving children time to express their opinions, not giving kids time to play and not being warm towards children.
In addition to her role as the Schubert Center’s associate director, Dr. Short is a professor of Psychology at Case Western Reserve University. Her research is on cognitive development in preschool- and school-aged children as well as various learning disabilities. A research and policy brief on Dr. Short’s work on assessing developmental differences through play is available at the Schubert Center’s website.
Tags: Children, Family, Parenthood
The Impact of Prenatal Exposure on Later Development
10/22/2010 7:20:03 AM
Scientific research continues to provide evidence that the prenatal stage of human development can have significant effects on health and development in subsequent life stages. Exposure to toxic substances such as lead, alcohol, cocaine and other drugs has been linked to various problems, including low birth weight, delays in cognitive and neurological development, and later behavioral and learning disorders. These developmental disorders have a significant impact on not only the child, but also the family and community. Schubert Center Faculty Associates Dr. Maureen Hack and Dr. Lynn Singer are among a number of researchers conducting longitudinal research with low birth weight infants, many with a history of prenatal exposure to toxic substances, to examine the effects of these early exposure infants’ biological, psychological and behavioral development throughout their lives.
While there is clear evidence that fetal exposure may impact later development, the relationship is complex and warrants further investigation. For example, research has established a relatively clear connection between alcohol use during pregnancy and developmental disorders in childhood. However, a recent article published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health suggests that light alcohol use during pregnancy does not appear to negatively impact development. While alcohol use during pregnancy clearly can be detrimental, the mechanisms through which alcohol impacts development is still being explored.
To read more about Dr. Hack’s and Dr. Singer’s ongoing research projects, access the Schubert Center for Child Studies Policy Briefs :
The impact of prenatal exposures, both positive and negative, are also subject of a new popular book exploring the effects of various fetal exposures, including mother’s diet, nutrition, stress, trauma and drug exposure, on human development. In Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives, author Annie Murphy Paul provides a personal account of her own attempts to sift through the growing body of scientific literature examining prenatal exposure as she makes decisions as an expectant mother. Though not intended as a scientific review of the literature on the topic, Paul provides an engaging survey of topics currently under investigation and insight into the ways in which these findings may shape parental behavior.
Tags: Children, Development, Early Childhood, Health, Infancy, Low Birth Weight, Parenthood