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Endangered Children: Homicide and Other Crimes

2nd Edition, December 13, 2011

Complete Document

Detail Summary

Active, Most Current

Additional Comments:
ISBN: 978-1-4398-7626-8
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Product Details:

  • Revision: 2nd Edition, December 13, 2011
  • Published Date: December 13, 2011
  • Status: Active, Most Current
  • Document Language: English
  • Published By: CRC Press (CRC)
  • Page Count: 275
  • ANSI Approved: No
  • DoD Adopted: No

Description / Abstract:


In our original Endangered Children volume (Schwartz & Isser, 2000), and in its version as Child Homicide (Schwartz & Isser, 2007), the focus was entirely on children being killed and those who killed them. However, children are in danger from many other sources, from infancy onward. These other sources affect children's emotional well-being and their relationships with family, peers, and others throughout their lives.

Consider these potential sources of endangerment just within the family: parental abuse, shaken baby syndrome (Isser & Schwartz, 2006), sibling abuse, parental neglect, lack of supervision, and lower socioeconomic class background. Some parents routinely spank-or beat-their children for behavior the parents perceive as disobedient or disrespectful. Shaken baby syndrome is actually one form of such abuse, with the parent shaking the baby violently, perhaps with the head striking a wall. This can cause irremediable brain damage. An older sibling may regularly hurt a younger one by hitting him/her or by belittling the younger one.

On the other hand, parental neglect can also allow a child to be endangered, e.g., crossing a street without adult supervision, risking physical harm by climbing steep ladders or using equipment meant for older children, not getting enough rest, or attempting to compete with others in a variety of settings. Lack of parental supervision also occurs when children are left unattended in a vehicle while the parent goes shopping or, as happened recently, gambles in a local casino. In some cases, parents at the lowest socioeconomic level may have been neglected themselves as they grew through childhood and adolescence, and have no idea of how to care for a child.

In the past a society more sympathetic to children's plight could and did lead to community intervention. A different set of problems may arise if the child is removed from the biological family, because of problems perceived there, and is placed into the foster care system. In some cases, the foster parents may take in a child primarily for the income the state provides for being foster parents. It is unlikely that the child's emotional well-being will be enhanced in such a situation. Indeed, in the case of the Jackson boys (Schwartz, 2008a), they were uncared for, starved, and otherwise neglected. This was discovered only when the oldest boy was found searching for food in a neighbor's trash at 4 a.m. The social worker had not seen the boys or talked with them when she paid her visits to the home, and was later dismissed for not doing her job properly.

If the child does not bond with the foster parents, and their children, if any, this is not good. An astute social worker, seeing this lack of a tie over a period of several months, may recommend that the child be placed elsewhere. In some cases, children may be moved from one foster family to another without success, with the result that the child feels inadequate, unlovable, undesirable.

There are other difficulties as well. Despite mass communication elucidation of child abuse and violence and the efforts of many community and well-meaning government agencies, medical services, and social workers, we have not prevented the most egregious victimization of children. Moreover, as in the past, many in our society have protested what they perceive as too much interference in private family matters. Also as in the past, they seek less secular and more religious and moral teaching to enhance family life, privacy, and good parenting.

The chapters that follow focus on these problems, or challenges, and attempts to resolve them.