How we care for the most vulnerable among us is one of the great challenges of our time. As Mahatma Ghandi once said, “A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.” And social workers are hard-pressed to find one group in more dire need of urgent attention than children at risk of neglect or abuse.
Children deprived of a safe, nurturing family environment are entitled to special protection, assistance and alternative care. And today’s caseworkers can most effectively address this with the right social services software.
The Process of Protection
While a child’s first line of protection should be the family, it’s often these very people who are responsible for the crisis. It’s difficult to understand how anyone, let alone the people who care for them, could cause harm, or threaten to harm, a child’s health or welfare. Finding ways to protect these children when those around them are putting them in danger is a tricky and difficult process.
Non-accidental physical or mental injury. Sexual abuse or sexual exploitation. Maltreatment. The scars caused by these horrible acts have a negative and devastating affect when caused by a parent, legal guardian or any other person responsible for the child's welfare. This also includes teachers, a teacher's aide or members of the clergy.
What is Neglect?
Neglect also falls into the list of mistreatments. Child neglect is defined as being caused by either of the following:
- Negligent treatment, including the failure to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter or medical care
- Placing a child at an unreasonable risk to the child's health or welfare by failure of the parent, legal guardian or other person responsible for the child's welfare to intervene to eliminate that risk when that person is able to do so and has, or should have, knowledge of the risk
The severity of these problems are also why child welfare cases are among the most data-driven group caseworkers will encounter. The notes, observations and recommendations of caseworkers weigh heavily in decisions involving juvenile court, parental rights cases and a variety of other legal actions. Having the proper social services software protects and defends not only the child, but the caseworker as well.
The right human services software allows you to keep case notes for every activity you do and has the ability to change what forms are available, based on programs and ever-changing needs. You can also create personalized, specific forms, as well as reports to collect data from those forms. This all proves invaluable when you have to appear in court on a case or need to make a recommendation.
Child welfare programs are among the most difficult and emotionally draining cases a person can face. FAMCare can help make it easier by working with you to choose or create the social services software that best fits your needs.
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By Mandy Frary
FAMCare Operational Manager
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in March 2019 and has been updated with additional information.