Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Minimum Standards


It is National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

As part of this month, my work released something we refer to as "Minimal Standards."
In screening in calls to our children's protection unit, there needed to be some uniformity. Is it okay for a parent to decide their child should not be immunized? Is it okay for an 11 year old to stay home after school alone for 15 minutes? What about 2 hours? What about a 9 year old?

So some people here decided to create a program that listed the minimal environments that are acceptable. Anything that falls outside these standards will be investigated. Keep in mind these are minimal standards - not the best.

As I read these standards, I was struck with how many times my own childhood home and environment would have fallen outside these standards. How about you?

Care - a parent or caretaker is providing suitable or minimally sufficient care when -
* a home is clean enough to not cause children to get sick or have infections.
* a home has safe heating and ventilation and little risk of fire hazard
* there is a safe place for the child to sleep
* the child is provided food to stay healthy
* the child receives medical and dental care, especially if there is pain.
* the child receives special services when recommended to assure good health and the ability to learn
* all caretakers expect behaviors based realistically on the child's age and abilities
* a child of age 7 is enrolled and attends school daily
* basic cleanliness needs are met
* a child has clothing in good enough condition for the weather and daily activities
* the parent protects a child from people who are violent or make bad decisions that may place a child at risk for harm.
* a parent protects a child from anyone who imposes behavior of a sexual nature on a child. This includes but is not limited to suggestive comments or behaviors, contact with a registered sex offender, child pornography, fondling or penetration.
* parents to not encourage or allow a youth to live with someone with whom the youth is having a sexual relationship
* a child up to age 11 is not exposed to firearms, nor has access to firearms. After age 12, children need to have adult supervision.
* a parent uses words that build a child up, not belittle or scares the child.
* A parent does not encourage or force a child to participate in any sort of criminal or illegal behavior
* A child is not exposed to a pattern of violence in the home
* a child is not exposed to unsafe behaviors caused by drugs, illegal or prescription, or alcohol.

Supervision -
* young children, especially under 5, need caretakers who have sight and sound supervision of children when they are awake and active.
* around age 10 a child may play outside or in the neighborhood by themselves, environment depending.
* some children may stay alone for short periods of daylight hours beginning at age 10.
* before an older child begins babysitting, they need to have the appropriate skills to care for a child. Usually a child is 13 before they are ready to have this responsibility.

Discipline - parents must expect children to behave according to their age and development -
* discipline children only for behavior they have the capacity to control
* encourage and reward children for behavior you want to continue
* learn a variety of discipline techniques
* never use a punishment that results in any injury (including marks or bruises)
* never shake or throw a baby
* do not allow others to discipline your child in a way that leaves a mark or which might injure
* do not force a child to eat food or drink liquids in large amounts
* do not lock a child in a closet or room
* do not restrain a child by any means, including belts, ropes, duct tape
* do not prevent your child from sleeping, eating or drinking as a form of punishment
* do not scald, bite, choke, suffocate or harm your child

* Five children die every day from child abuse and neglect *

6 comments:

Enola said...

I was reading these and these are the ones my parents violated -

* there is a safe place for the child to sleep (I assume "safe" means without risk of being jerked out of bed by parents beating each other on the front lawn)

* the child receives medical and dental care, especially if there is pain.

* all caretakers expect behaviors based realistically on the child's age and abilities

* the parent protects a child from people who are violent or make bad decisions that may place a child at risk for harm.

* a parent protects a child from anyone who imposes behavior of a sexual nature on a child. This includes but is not limited to suggestive comments or behaviors, contact with a registered sex offender, child pornography, fondling or penetration.

* parents to not encourage or allow a youth to live with someone with whom the youth is having a sexual relationship (well I didn't live there technically. I just stayed there every weekend)

* a parent uses words that build a child up, not belittle or scares the child.

* A parent does not encourage or force a child to participate in any sort of criminal or illegal behavior

* A child is not exposed to a pattern of violence in the home

* a child is not exposed to unsafe behaviors caused by drugs, illegal or prescription, or alcohol.

* young children, especially under 5, need caretakers who have sight and sound supervision of children when they are awake and active.

* around age 10 a child may play outside or in the neighborhood by themselves, environment depending.

* some children may stay alone for short periods of daylight hours beginning at age 10. (gee I was 7, and caring for my sister at age 10)

* before an older child begins babysitting, they need to have the appropriate skills to care for a child. Usually a child is 13 before they are ready to have this responsibility.

* discipline children only for behavior they have the capacity to control

* encourage and reward children for behavior you want to continue

* never use a punishment that results in any injury (including marks or bruises)

* do not lock a child in a closet or room

* do not scald, bite, choke, suffocate or harm your child

Marj aka Thriver said...

I learned a lot about minimum standards when I was a CASA for abused and neglected kids. My parents failed at a lot of these.

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Those are very inclusive standards. Years ago, when I supervised child (and adult) protective services, there was nothing so codified.

My mother was neurotic/at times paranoid and my father was a functional alcoholic. I grew up in a less than perfect home.

From Tracie said...

My parent's violated a lot of these too. I was struck by this "suggestive comments or behaviors" my father routinely did this and it made me so uncomfortable as a child.....more than uncomfortable and it really was abuse.

Rising Rainbow said...

Things have changed a lot since I was a kid. Some of these things were considered acceptable behavior back then.

mssc54 said...

As I looked over that list I can see how easily a non custodial parent could easily manipulate that list.