Child Protective Services and Divorce Video

Steve Shelov MD FAAP ,Chairman of Maimonides Infant and Children's Hospital of Brooklynn Author of "Your Baby's First Year" and "Caring For Your Baby and Young Child" from The American Acad. of Pediatrics discusses child protective services.
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Host: If a kid gets reported to the Bureau of Child Welfare, you should think of it, it's a good thing, for checking other situation, and if you did something that really is so terrible, the way you should approach it is be honest, tell them the truth, and they are on your side. But we hear this all the time, the reports are going left and right, we are hearing people use the Bureau of Child Welfare to get to parents that reports false charges. How do we approach that? Steve Shelov: It's a very difficult series of events that occur when the ACS or Bureau of Child Welfare get involved in domestic abuses or child abuse cases. They are very important however from the standpoint of, one, they must be done. We are required to report those cases that we become aware of as physicians or healthcare providers. Then it's most important, and I believe that the ACS is becoming much more sensitive to how to use those cases, to have families change, where there is a potential for change, because no one wants to see kids hurt, and no one wants to see kids hurt certainly a second time, if it comes to the attention of the authorities. So how can we as pediatricians or how can we as parents help that? The key is to respond, support the family, make it really clear that's not acceptable. Give them alternative ways of managing their own frustrations, and dealing with the child who is difficult, or a family situation is difficult. It's not a one-time fix. It's not one of those things that okay, a year ago we talked about this, it probably may take repeated visits to see how things are going, and discussions. It's one of those things that ACS monitors, but as pediatricians, we can play a role in helping ACS, since we know the families, and have known them from when they brought their child to us from the newborn period. So we can play an active role in figuring out how to help the families, use the sort of precipitant, which was the abuse or the striking situation, as a way to grow and not make it even worse for everybody around. Host: If you were conducting one, they are going to come to you, they are going to see how you handle their kid, you shouldn't be afraid of it, your pediatrician who knows you, they will call in to check immunization records. Just don't become negative, become positive, and if it's a minor thing, it goes away. Steve Shelov: You are absolutely right. The key is that you want to use this situation to learn from it and do it better the next time. ACS is really not interested in breaking families apart, because there is no good places for kids who are no longer in their family and nowhere to go to. They are all temporary, they are all sort of patchwork solutions, there is just no good place. The best place is in a family, where they grew up and were born, and if that family becomes a nurturing one, and not one that's a dangerous one. Obviously, dangerous ones, we have to bring the child out, but that's only a small percentage. I know they may hit the newspapers and everything gets sensationalized. The vast majority of cases are seen by the ACS, most of the time parents are understanding and also, they realize that, jeez, this is the right place for this child, there needs to be some built-in parenting skills added to it, the frustrations have to be dealt within ways other than at the expense of the child. But use it in that vein. Don't think that they are in there; their first thing is to take the child out. That's not, because frankly, they know that's not the best intervention, unless there is no other choice.

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