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Report Outlines Reported Child Abuse While in State Custody

Children-Abuse SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) –The Department of Children and Families investigates reports of child abuse at places like foster homes, and schools.

The results of those findings are in a report from the Office of the Child Advocate.

They reviewed 234 reports from 2012, supporting nearly 250 allegations of maltreatment,

connecting with the DCF on treatment in foster homes. “We do see cases of children who were abused while in foster care, occasionally, less commonly, in schools. A foster home is monitored to a certain extent. Foster parents are given a certain amount of training, but only a certain amount,” said Dr. Stephen Boos, Medical Director at the Family Advocacy Center at Baystate Children’s Hospital.

Though Dr. Boos mainly works with private families, he estimates that only 1/3 of child abuse cases are even being reported.  “We probably see between 300-350 children a year. Each of those cases is a question of abuse, but that doesn’t mean those kids have been abused. Probably are about half are abused. But that’s only cases that come to light. We don’t see the vast majority of the neglect cases,” he added.

Neglect could include things like poor hygiene, and home conditions…

According to the DCF, the number of kids removed from homes because of abuse or neglect has declined in the past couple of years. For reports of child abuse in schools or day care, children may be living at home, and not necessarily under DCF care.

Still, Dr. Boos hopes a report like this creates a long term solution instead of a knee-jerk reaction. “We recommend that this is perhaps, the most important public health problem of our time, and we make gradual, incremental changes with real thought and commitment,” stated Dr. Boos.

The DCF says they have expanded placements, and lowered staff caseloads in order to help keep children safe.

When the DCF gets a report of abuse, they say they begin investigating immediately, while putting a corrective action plan in place at the home.

That home is immediately closed from more placements pending the investigation’s outcome.


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