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- » Caregivers of Young Children: Preventing and Responding to Child Maltreatment: Preface
In 1977, in one of its early efforts, the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect (NCCAN) developed 21 manuals (the User Manual Series) designed to provide guidance to professionals involved in child protection and to enhance community collaboration and the quality of services provided to children and families. Some manuals described each professional's roles and responsibilities in the prevention, identification, and treatment of child maltreatment. Other manuals in the series addressed special topics, for example, adolescent abuse and neglect.
Our understanding of the complex problems of child abuse has increased dramatically since the user manuals were developed. This increased knowledge has improved our ability to intervene effectively in the lives of troubled families. Likewise, we have a better grasp of what we can do to prevent child abuse and neglect from occurring. For example, it was not until the early 1980's that sexual abuse became a major focus in child maltreatment research and treatment. Further, our knowledge of the unique roles that key professionals, such as early childhood educators, can play in child protection has been more clearly defined, and a great deal has been learned about the importance of enhanced coordination and collaboration of community agencies and professionals. Finally, we are facing today new and more serious problems in families who maltreat their children. For example, there is a significant percentage of families known to Child Protective Services (CPS) who are experiencing substance abuse problems; a report of the first reference to drug-exposed infants appeared in the literature in 1985.
Because our knowledge base has increased significantly and the state of the art of practice has improved considerably, NCCAN has updated the User Manual Series by revising many of the existing manuals and creating new manuals that address current innovations, concerns, and issues in the preventions and treatment of child maltreatment.
This manual, Caregivers of Young Children: Preventing and Responding to Child Maltreatment, is a revised version of one of the original user manuals. It is designed to be used in conjunction with A Coordinated Response to Child Abuse and Neglect: A Basic Manual, which provides the foundation for all community prevention, identification, and treatment efforts. If you have not yet read A Coordinated Response to Child Abuse and Neglect: A Basic Manual, we suggest that you do so before reading this volume.
It is expected that this manual will be used by early childhood education professionals in a variety of settings, including Head Start programs; private and public day care programs; part-day early childhood programs (preschools, nursery schools, and drop-in programs); school-based early childhood programs; before and after school programs for school-aged children; family child care homes and networks; and child care resource and referral agencies. Not all of the information provided is applicable to every setting; however, all caregivers of young children will find sections of the manual relevant to their roles and responsibilities. Early childhood professionals include the following individuals:
- Caregiving professionals: caregivers; teachers; assistants; aides; family child care providers; and home visitors.
- Early childhood specialists: education coordinators; social workers; parent involvement coordinators and parent educators; and coordinators of services for persons with disabilities or persons in need of mental health services.
- Administrators: supervisors of large, multicenter programs; center and/or program directors; and assistant directors.
- Trainers of caregiving professionals: consultants; Head Start education coordinators; education program specialists for military child development programs; university and college instructors and professors; and child care resource and referral program staff.
As stated above, it is best to begin by reading A Coordinated Response to Child Abuse and Neglect: A Basic Manual to gain an understanding of the different types of child maltreatment, the causes and effects, and the child protection system.
This manual should then be read in its entirety to understand the roles and responsibilities of caregivers of young children in preventing, recognizing, and reporting child maltreatment outside and within early childhood programs. The manual will also be a useful resource when suspected incidents of child abuse or neglect arise or when early childhood educators have questions concerning their roles and responsibilities. Early childhood administrators and trainers may use this manual as a basis for developing a training curriculum for staff and parents. In addition, sections of the manual may be incorporated into ongoing staff orientation or child maltreatment programs.
This material may be freely reproduced and distributed. However, when doing so, please credit Child Welfare Information Gateway.