Public Health Media Campaign Proposal for Child Abuse
The organization I am proposing is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC works to understand the problem of child abuse better and develops programs to help prevent it before it begins. My role in the organization would be to help plan, implement, and evaluate different health communication and activities that will positively affect the final health results. The department that is responsible for media campaigns is the Media Relations department at the CDC. Child abuse and neglect is an unseen public health epidemic that affects numerous children and causes long-term effects. Child abuse originates from unhealthy relationships or the environment that a child may live in. Some strategies can help in preventing child abuse that consists of having positive parenting skills, early educational learning or educational campaigns, as well as having stronger economic security.
Public Health Issue
The Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act defines child abuse as being any type of act or failure to act and protect on the part of a parent, guardian or caretaker that results to severe physical harm, emotional harm, sexual abuse, exploitation, or even death (Cort, Cerulli, and He, 2010). Child abuse affects millions or more children nationwide and is also linked to short-term and long-term health complications. Physical abuse is a non-accidental injury inflicted by a parent, caregiver, or other person who has responsibility for the child. Psychological maltreatment is mental abuse of a child that conveys that a child is unwanted, worthless, or only there to meet another’s need. Neglect is the failure to protect a child from harm or potential harm and neglecting a child’s basic need.
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Children that are have a greater risk for child abuse are those who live in an environment that is unprotected from domestic violence, live in lower-income communities, have parents with lower education levels (school dropouts), those with parents that use alcohol and drugs on a regular, and families with 3 or more children (Antai, Braithwaite, Clerk, 2016). Some other risk factors are those with parental stress, living in single-parent homes, and stepfamilies.
I believe that everyone should be made aware of this epidemic. The community should be continuously informed of child neglect and be known of all the signs of abuse as well as how to report any questionable abuse that may be happening around them.
A disparity that is related to child abuse is racial/ethnic disproportionality. Data that is collected from Child Protective Services (CPS) across the nation, the results point out that African-American children had higher rates of abuse over those that are Hispanic and Caucasian (Cort, Cerulli, & He, 2010).
Socioeconomic status plays a significant role in child abuse cases — families whose annual household incomes that were less than $15,000 were 22 times more likely to child abuse than families with incomes of more than $30,000 (Cort, Cerulli, and He, 2010).
Universal Programs, Selected Programs, and Indicated Programs are backed by evidence that demonstrates effectiveness to help reduce disparities of child abuse. The Universal Prevention Programs made for educating the public, the parents, and the providers about the consequences of child abuse before it even starts (Merrick and Latzman, 2014). School-based prevention programs and parenting classes fall under the universal plan.
The Selected Prevention Programs directed towards individuals that identified as being at-risk or have multiple risk factors of child maltreatment; for example, are plans for teen parents (Merrick and Latzman, 2014). The Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) is evidence-based prevention and intervention practice that helps enroll first-time mothers with low-income. NFP has over 40 years of research that supports the success in the program by getting healthier mothers and children, and to help families get out of poverty and build stronger communities (NFP, 2018). Every single dollar that is invested in NFP allows for $6.40 in return to society and the state and government almost $3.00 (NFP, 2018).
Indicated Prevention Programs, has activities that are focused on families that have already suffered from abuse (Merrick and Latzman, 2014). An excellent example of Indicated Prevention is Trauma Focused-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, (TF-CBT). TF-CBT was designed mainly to prevent and lower the amount of emotional stress following abuse, but not intended to avoid injury (Merrick and Latzman, 2014).
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 1,750 children died in the United States in 2016 from abuse and neglect (2018). Policies and programs are created to help educate families and the community on this public health issue. Prevention is crucial because we want to stop abuse and promote positive actions and behaviors. Although April is known nationally as Child Abuse Prevention Month and everyone comes together to support, we need everyone’s support all the time to end child maltreatment. Child maltreatment is costing the United States billions of dollars each year. The lifetime cost associated with one year of confirmed cases of child abuse or neglect is 124 billion each year (CDC, 2018). Child maltreatment has many long-lasting effects from poor health, violence, unhealthy behaviors, and disruption of brain development. The signs and symptoms of child abuse are essential; often the signs aren’t recognizable. Children are often afraid to speak up about abuse because they are afraid of the abuser, thinking they are to blame, or it’s someone that they love dearly. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, most children are being abused or neglected by someone that is in their family or someone they know ( AAP, 2018).
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Written and Oral communication seems to be the most effective way to disperse information to the Department of Health & Human Services, Department of Children’s Services, and the Board of Education. We want to urge the ideas to the Dept. of Children’s Services and the Health Dept. to apply new policies and procedures that will offer more educational resources and training to parents, students, and faculty. Families who have more severe cases involved with the Dept. of Children Services need to be required to complete parenting classes. We would also like to see the local Health Departments offer out free parenting classes to their communities.
We want schools to implement policies and procedures that are required for all teachers to learn how to detect and report abuse if suspected. An excellent program for adults is one called Stewards of Children. Stewards of Children is designed to show individuals how they can protect children by using real people with real stories. Guidance counselors in schools need to be required to do more prevention with activities that talk about “right touch, bad touch.” Schools send home letters or pamphlets regarding information with a student, but it is rare that they carry home more information about child abuse. It is difficult to educate families on this issue when there isn’t enough educational materials provided or those willing get out into communities and express the importance of this issue. Crosson-Tower stated, “the use of formal programs that involve the schools and districts have known to be effective when addressing the problematic and self-destructive behavior in youth that if often an aftereffect of child abuse” (2003).
When proposing our media campaign to help end child abuse, we can’t guarantee that the forms of prevention will stop all abuse, but hope that more prevention will significantly lower the number of children that become victims. We only use data that is public knowledge, we make sure it is accurate and reliable, and we make sure it does not contain information that goes against any ethical code singalling out and specific individual. Many forms of data collection and dispersal of information can lead to illegal actions. It’s also essential for the public and community to know the laws mandated reporting of the state where they live.
Some evidence-based preventive services are known to lower the number of victims of abuse. “Child visitation services are known to have the most likely effect in preventing casualties and has shown to lower the number of incidences in child abuse” (The Children’s Agenda, 2017). I honestly believe that this campaign will improve the outcome of the number of children that become victims of abuse. Parenting programs can offer better parenting skills and create stronger family relationships. The use of prevention strategies is effective at creating policies, practices, and societal norms like establishing a safe, stable, nurturing connection within the environment (CDC, 2018). Using social media like Facebook and Twitter, passing out flyers and pamphlets, and using mass media will help get the information out about my campaign. Adults of all ages and parents with young kids use social media, so this is my primary source based on how often social media is being looked at on a daily basis. Flyers and pamphlets can be handed out at the local health department and sent home with children from school for their parents to read. If I were to use the newspaper as my communication tool, I would have to create seminars or workshops to disseminate the information in my campaign. It would be impossible to input all my data into a newspaper ad. This method of communication tool could also be painful and cause barriers when trying to reach my targeted audiences.
Legal and ethical standards and policies are essential when it comes to child maltreatment research. Ethical issues that come up is having informed consent, privacy and confidentiality, and debriefing of sensitive information. These ethical issues shouldn’t limit the ability to move forward with this campaign. We aren’t providing specific information on individuals and displaying it to the public. When it comes to someone reporting suspected abuse they should always remember they can remain anonymous and it’s important for school officials, health department workers, and the Department of Children’s Services workers to maintain confidentiality in cases of suspected abuse.
- American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). (2018). Child Abuse and Neglect. Retrieved from https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-home/Pages/What-to-Know-about-Child-Abuse.aspx
- Antai, D., Braithwaite, P., Clerk, G. (2016). Social determinants of child abuse: evidence of factors associated with maternal abuse from the Egypt demographic and health survey. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4729331/
- CDC. (2013). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved https://www.cdc.gov/maso/pdf/cdcmiss.pdf
- CDC. (2018). Child Abuse and Neglect: Prevention Strategies. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/childabuseandneglect/prevention.html
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2018). Child Abuse Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/features/healthychildren/index.html
- Cort, N. A., Cerulli, C., & He, H. (2010). Investigating Health Disparities and Disproportionality in Child Maltreatment Reporting: 2002-2006. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice: JPHMP, 16(4), 329–336. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2914097/
- Crosson-Tower, C. (2003). The Role of Educators in Preventing and Responding to Child Abuse and Neglect. Retrieved from https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubpdfs/educator.pdf
- Merrick, M.T. and Latzman, N.E. (2014). Child Maltreatment: A Public Health Overview and Prevention Considerations. Retrieved from http://ojin.nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/ANAMarketplace/ANAPeriodicals/OJIN/TableofContents/Vol-19-2014/No1-Jan-2014/Child-Maltreatment.html
- Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP). (2018). Public Policy and Advocacy. Retrieved from http://www.nursefamilypartnership.org/public-policy
- The Children’s Agenda. (2017). Evidence-Based Strategies to Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect. Retrieved from http://rochesterteachers.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Policy-brief-on-evidence-based-child-abuse-neglect-prevention-FINAL-Nov-17.pdf
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