Child abuse caseworkers will always be needed

Posted: Monday, May 17, 1999

It was heartening to see the very fine article in Sunday's Empire about social services, Division of Family and Youth Services and abused children. It was informative and pointed out the sad necessity of caseworkers to help abused and neglected children.

I am personally acquainted with all the professional people mentioned in the articles: Barbara Walker, Jan Rutherford, Jim Shanks and Xenia Tata. I can attest to their fine work and deep caring for children, having known and worked with them for many years. I cannot praise them enough.

Child abuse, neglect and sexual abuse cases are the most unpleasant events that a pediatrician has to deal with, in contrast with the usual happy work that I do. Yet I sometimes think I have it easy - the physician (or teacher or nurse or anyone else who is reporting) is not only protected but required by law to report selected cases. Then we turn it over to the professional social service workers to sort out. It's difficult sometimes, as the feature pointed out.

Both real child abuse and ``pseudo child abuse,`` i.e. false reports, exist. I have seen it both ways, sometimes with tragic consequences either way. I don't envy the workers, the investigators and the courts.

The first importance is to protect and shelter the helpless ones. Child Protective Services, I'm sad to say, will always be needed. May they always receive the funding, the support and the praise they need.

Thanks to Eric Fry and the Empire for the article.

Kenneth W. Moss, M.D. Pediatrician



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