Discussion - The Difficulties Preventing
Agencies From Responding Adequately to Abused Children
Our sociopolitical agendas do not prioritize children
and families. There is a substantial lack of financial
support connect to the devaluation of children.
Philosophical attitudes towards children greatly
affect political policies. As a result, we need
to concentrate on strengths inherent in these
positive attitudes to implement change. The United
Nations Convention on Childrens Rights should
have a significant impact on institutions and
Children are considered to be powerless
and vulnerable, therefore they are not heard.
This connects to inadequate agencies responses.
Additionally, there is no advocacy for childrens
Canada needs national advocacy
for a children and youth strategy. We must link
the provinces together to move our agenda forward.
At this time, the provinces are not accountable.
Where is the leadership on this issue? This issue
must be addressed by the federal government. By
setting up a forum (e.g. Federal Criminal Code)
in which each province operates separately and
uniquely results in an unequal allocation of funds.
We must have equal allocation of funds to resources
across the country.
Overall, there is a lack of adequate
resources, treatment programs and secure settings.
We need to have basic services, to be available
in every province, at standardized levels. For
example, primary prevention services such as education
and support, prenatal programs, parenting programs,
early intervention facilities and an abuse/neglect
We also need national accountability:
programs affecting children and youth will not
be disbanded. We need a national child protection
strategy and a national clearinghouse on child
abuse/neglect, accessible to all provinces. In
addition, all of these initiatives must be adequately
The current general abuse/neglect
programs should be expanded through more research.
Currently, leading edge research is not being
disseminated to existing abuse/neglect families.
We need a direct connection to current, up to
date research and treatments, for example, via
a shared data base, or through conferences.
Current changes seem to be prompted
by investigations into childrens deaths.
The system cannot just be reactive.
It needs to take a thoughtful approach. Specialists
are required in areas of child protection and
treatment, especially the trauma of abuse and
dealing or addressing professional issues around
Currently supervisors who are involved
in key decision making for children and youth
issues do not receive adequate training, resulting
in vicarious traumatization.
Training institutions are not correctly
addressing these issues effectively. Medical persons
need to be trained to identify abuse at an early
There is a lack of trust in intervention
agencies on the part of professionals as well
as the public. The courts and police are not universally
trained and the legal system is ineffective. More
sensitivity and understanding on the part of the
judiciary is also required.
Criminal procedures for offenders
result in inadequate treatment and follow-up procedures
serve to perpetuate an abusive cycle.
We need to develop ethics around
authority. Different generations find it difficult
to implement the power they have to orchestrate
change. Workers are uncomfortable removing children.
Protecting children is not their first priority,
and most of the people who understood the necessity
of exercising removal procedures have left.
Children in care are not being
adequately dealt with in terms of their treatment
needs. Resources are few and often filled, therefore
children are place where there is a space, rather
than in the best facility for them. It is difficult
to coordinate services for abused children. There
is a need to coordinate different agencies and
the care they provide - care pooling.
Treatment methodology needs to
be improved and updated (e.g. body imaging work
has proven beneficial). Current trauma assessment
should be expanded to all aspects of abuse. The
lack of information on abuse connections to body,
imagery and memories (e.g. physically focused
intervention between abused children and their
There is a current backlash: children
lie, people are set up, professionals should not
be teaching issues - where has the sense of healthy
touch gone? Prevention has been removed
from educational facilities by radical groups
who are powerful.