Preventing Child Maltreatment Through Social Support
a book by Ross Thompson
(our site's book review)
Thompson says that “social support has become the cause célèbre among those who are seeking more effective new avenues to abuse prevention.” This happened because one of the most important characteristics of abuse-prone families turns out to be lousy social supports systems (friends, family, and neighbors). Research showed that to reduce abuse, strengthen social support systems.
He says that there are many potential obstacles to finding social support to prevent abuse and neglect. Many potential helpers may be unwilling, or unable, to provide the assistance. There may be few resources nearby or it may be a bad neighborhood. Many supporters may be mentally ill or sources of stress as well as support.
With all the divorce, domestic violence, single parenting, limited public assistance, and economic stresses in the current U.S. social scene, sociologists are starting to wonder whether current families can fulfill basic childrearing functions.
The U. S. Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect has recommended the creation of a "child-centered, neighborhood-based child protection system" in which federal agencies concerned with child abuse would seek to empower communities to institute formal abuse prevention and strengthen informal services and resources within neighborhoods so that there will be aid for troubled families.
Family isolation increases the risk of depression, loneliness, and child abuse, just to name a few
Family isolation increases the risk of depression, loneliness, and child abuse, just to name a few.
Thompson tells us that a social program called “intensive family preservation is designed to prevent the recurrence of abuse through several weeks of ongoing counseling, parent education, instruction on home management, vocational counseling, and other assistance through a trained social worker.”
A social worker
Of all the people who seek to protect children such as social service caseworkers, law enforcement officials, lawyers, judges, counselors, home visitors, and program administrators, only the family and its local support network have much chance of being anything except reactive, trying to cure problems as they arise. And yet schools are obviously doing a poor job of teaching relationship skills and parenting skills, and social skills in general, or there would be more proactive deeds and the society wouldn’t be awash with dysfunctionality.
Since throwing money at problems does little good, how can we deal with dysfunctional lives, childcare, communities, and families? MCs!
Since the chances of this country suddenly embarking upon an orgy of social program spending are nada, nil, bupkiss, zipadeedoodah, and zilch, we have to begin asking ourselves: if there is no government money available to address these issues, and if throwing money at them has little chance of making a big impact anyway, then whatever will we do to deal with these issues? There is one answer that saves money, rather than costing money, and that requires no government intervention whatsoever, and that takes care of the bulk of these types of social issues in one fell swoop: MCs (microcommunities). For those unready for this larger step, they can at least start babysitting co-ops as an interim measure while preparing for the bigger MC step. See Why Register for an MC?.
Registering for MC search and match
Since Uncle Sam will not be riding in on a white horse to save us, we'll simply have to fix things ourselves. MCs!