Published on July 16, 2012 at 4:42 AM
PolicyLab's health services researchers, who contributed to the study, note that the public agencies working with vulnerable children and families are better equipped to assist them when the risk factors linked with increased child physical abuse rates are understood. "For example, early prevention efforts could start with a pediatrician or housing counselor providing resources and social services referrals for families," explained Dr. Wood, who is also the research director of Safe Place: Center for Child Protection and Health at CHOP.
According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, child physical abuse has lasting societal as well as individual consequences, which result in an increased reliance on public assistance and social services – from Medicaid and foster care, to more indirect costs associated with higher rates of criminal activity, mental illness, substance abuse, and domestic violence.
"A study like this cannot tell us what stressors may be impacting an individual family, but can illustrate the toll that the recent recession may be having on families in general, in this country," said David Rubin, MD, MSCE, senior author of the study as well as Director of PolicyLab and an attending pediatrician at CHOP. "It is a reminder to me that when I see families in my practice who have lost their insurance or who have changed homes, to probe a little further about the challenges they are facing. As communities, we all need to reach out a little more to identify which families may be in crisis and help guide them to appropriate resources for support."
SOURCE The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia