A child abuse worker is responsible for a variety of tasks, many of which require difficult decisions. For example, they will usually determine whether a child is being abused and make a decision about whether or not the child should remain in his home. A child abuse worker can also help with family counseling or refer a family to specialized counseling. These workers may also accompany a victim to court and assist in finding a temporary or permanent home for an abused child.
When a child abuse worker receives a report of suspected child abuse, he or she must investigate to see if the report can be verified. This type of investigation usually necessitates multiple visits to a child’s home. She will often be able to determine whether a child’s living conditions are safe and appropriate while doing so.
She will also question the residents of a home, especially any children who may have been abused. Children’s interviews are usually conducted without their parents present, which may encourage them to open up more. Other members of the family, such as parents and siblings, are frequently questioned. A child abuse worker may also interview teachers and other school officials, depending on the circumstances.
Children may need to undergo a thorough medical examination if they have been subjected to possible physical or sexual abuse. Any unexplained marks on a child could be a sign of physical abuse. Infections or injuries to the genitalia, especially in younger children, may indicate possible sexual abuse.
After considering all of the evidence, a child abuse worker will make a determination as to whether or not abuse is present in the home. There may be no evidence to back up this claim in some cases. The case will be closed if this is the case.
A child abuse worker will try to correct the situation if there is evidence that a child is being mistreated. Children who are not in immediate danger are usually allowed to stay at home. The worker will usually visit the home on a regular basis to assess the situation. She may also refer the family to a child abuse therapist or a service that provides child abuse education. In these cases, the ultimate goal is to assist in improving the quality of life for both the child and the parents or guardians.
A child abuse worker may have reason to believe that if a child remains in his current situation, he will be in danger. He will most likely be placed with other carefully screened family members, or in a temporary protective facility or foster home in these situations. Visits between the abused child and his or her parents are frequently encouraged. A child abuse worker will frequently serve as a victim’s advocate, overseeing visitations and, if necessary, accompanying an abused child to family court.
Although it is not the intention of child abuse workers to separate children from their families, it does happen occasionally. If an abused child cannot or should not be returned to his home or parents, a child abuse worker may be forced to find him a more permanent living arrangement. In a perfect world, abused children would be placed with loving relatives. Because this isn’t always possible, some abused children are adopted willing, carefully screened families.