Monthly Archives: October 2013
|October 18, 2013||Posted by M. P. under Health, Management, News, Program Model||
A study commissioned by the Avon Foundation for Women on the experiences and perceptions of domestic violence and sexual abuse found a lack of discussion and action on these issues by both teenagers and adults.
Data from the study, NO MORE Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Survey of Attitudes and Experiences of Teens and Adults indicate that respondents felt these issues were important conceptually, but not much attention was given to them through words or actions, for example,
- 60 percent of women and 75 percent of men had not discussed the topic of domestic violence with friends
- 73 percent of parents with children under age 18 had not discussed the topic of sexual assault with their children
- 15 percent of respondents felt that sexual abuse or domestic violence were problems among their friends
- The majority of both male and female victims of domestic violence who had told someone about their situation reported that no one helped them
The Avon Foundation for Women plans to use this data to inform a new initiative to better train employers on the signs of domestic or sexual abuse and how to best support those who have experienced it. As the cost of domestic abuse in health care, mental health services and lost productivity amounts to billions of dollars each year, a scalable strategy to connect companies with local professionals to improve response and prevention efforts for families experiencing such crises is a step in the right direction.
|October 11, 2013||Posted by M. P. under Drug and Alcohol, News, Policy||
Trust for America’s Health’s (TFAH) latest report, Prescription Drug Abuse: Strategies to Stop the Epidemic, illustrates the magnitude of the public health problem created by misuse of prescription drugs, and examines the methods that states are employing to address the disturbing trend. According to the authors, the number of deaths by prescription drug overdose is larger than those by cocaine and heroin combined. With sales of prescription painkillers 4 times higher in 2010 than in 1999, the increase in the abuse of these substances should not come as a surprise.
Some of the findings from the report:
- In 2010, West Virginia was the state with the highest rate of deaths by overdose, at 28.9 for every 100,000 residents (an increase of 605 percent increase from 1999). North Dakota had the lowest at 3.4 for every 100,000 residents.
- 22 states require by law specific education for doctors and other healthcare professionals who can prescribe pain medication.
- 17 states have laws giving some protection from criminal charges (or consider it a mitigating factor) to people attempting to get medical assistance for an overdose victim, including themselves.
Pennsylvania is ranked 14th in amount of deaths by drug overdose and, according to the report, has in place 4 of 10 evidence-based indicators that work to reduce prescription drug abuse and overdose deaths. Policy and practice recommendations such as educational outreach and more variety in treatment options, as well as data snapshots for all fifty states are included in the complete report available at the Trust for America’s Health’s website.
|October 1, 2013||Posted by M. P. under Children and Family, Policy, Research||
The report from, Zero to Three and ChildTrends, Changing the Course for Infants and Toddlers: A Survey of State Child Welfare Policies and Initiatives by Elizabeth Jordan, Jaclyn Szrom, Jamie Colvard, Hope Cooper and Kerry DeVooght, examines child welfare policies for the very young and differences in practices used with this population and children of other ages. In 2011, children under 1 year old were most often the victim of substantiated reports of maltreatment, followed by those ages 1 to 3 years. Forty-seven states responded to the 2012-13 survey with information on how they treat cases involving abused and neglected infants and toddlers. Some of the findings from the report:
- A lack of services or case schedule (expedited hearing, review or meeting schedules) crafted with the special needs and developmental changes of 0-to-3 year olds in mind. Some states (9) did allow more frequent visitation between parents and their very young children in foster care. The majority of states (42) have policies that involve the birth parent(s) in discussion of their children’s health and healthcare decisions while in state care.
- Although their is interest in improving practices, overall, policies and training around child maltreatment are not driven by research on the impact of trauma on the still-developing brain of a child less than 3 years old. Neurological formation is critical from birth to age 3, but only 6 percent (3) of states reported mandatory training for all child welfare staff grounded in research on “promising practices” for infants and toddlers. Of those responding to the survey, 25 states require such training for front-line caseworkers and 15 states offer it as voluntary.
- The most commonly provided service was parenting education (offered by 39 states) or therapy provided to the young child (28 states). Seventeen states do not collect data on the services received by infants or toddlers who have been abused.
In the wake of the Sandusky case, Pennsylvania created the Task Force on Child Protection to review child abuse legislation and procedure. The final report released in 2012, available at their website as a PDF, contains several recommendations including,
- The use and fiscal support of evidence-based child abuse prevention programs
- Increasing the training requirements for caseworkers
- Expediting communication and information sharing through use of electronic communication
- An overhaul of the Child Protective Services Law, revision of definitions of key terms and expanding the list of mandatory reporters (with penalties for non-reporting)
- Creating a statewide database containing information from every report concerning possible neglect or abuse of a child, including those determined as unfounded, while eliminating the expungement process
Recent updates on the Pennsylvania Legislature’s actions around the recommendations are summarized in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette article Seven bills pass through Senate panel to strengthen Pa. child abuse laws by Kate Giammarise and at the Pennsylvania School Boards Association website.