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Recognizing Child Abuse
Training Sessions, January - June 2001

Following the success of our October 6, 1999 training session on the recognition and reporting of child abuse, we are pleased to announce six training sessions next spring, taught by Douglas J. Besharov.

About the training
Topics and schedules
Past training sessions
Learn about CEUs
Order materials

About the Training

Child abuse is a major national concern. Studies show that each year over one million children are abused or neglected by their parents. The children who live through years of assault, degradation, and neglect bear emotional scars that can last for years. We all pay the price of their suffering. Maltreated children often grow up to vent on their own children--and others--the violence and aggression their parents visited on them.

Proper recognition and reporting is a fundamental first step in addressing the tragedy of child abuse. Better--and more accurate--reporting depends on continuing public and professional education efforts.

These videoconferences are designed to provide high-quality training on the recognition and reporting of child abuse and neglect. The material will be suitable for those without any prior exposure to the subject as well as those who have substantial experience making reports.

Topics and schedules: The spring 2001 program schedule is as follows:

January 18, 2001. Reporting rights and responsibilities:This program will describe who is legally required to report, who is permitted to report, and the forms of reportable child abuse and neglect (including child endangerment). It will also examine the criminal and civil penalties for failing to report and describe the legal protections for those who report.

February 15, 2001. Is it physical abuse?: This program will define physical abuse, explain how to distinguish "reasonable" corporal punishment from physical abuse, provide guidelines for identifying "suspicious" injuries (and the battered child syndrome), and provide guidelines for using behavioral indicators.

March 15, 2001. Is it sexual abuse?: This program will define sexual abuse and sexual exploitation, sensitize participants to the special problems that arise in such cases, and provide guidelines for assessing the statements of children and for using the physical and behavioral indicators for sexual abuse.

April 19, 2001. Is it physical neglect?: This program will define physical neglect and medical neglect, sensitize participants to the need to distinguish physical neglect from poverty, and describe the indicators of physical neglect (including physical deprivation and dirty and disordered households).

May 17, 2001. Is it psychological maltreatment?: This program will define psychological maltreatment and provide guidelines for reporting emotional abuse and neglect (including the two-level approach to reporting emotional maltreatment and the diagnostic significance of the failure to treat a child's psychological problems), improper ethical guidance, and educational neglect.

June 21, 2001. Is it a reportable parental disability: This program will define the severe mental disabilities of parents that are reportable, including severe mental illness, severe mental retardation, and alcohol and drug abuse; and will sensitize participants to the diagnostic significance of a parent's inability to care for a newborn.

In a change from our first program, each program will also have a professional panel of discussants following each lecture. (In addition, and as described below, we encourage local sites to have panels of local experts, after our broadcast, to discuss the materials presented.)

The videoconferences will originate in Washington, D.C., and will be distributed live via C-band satellite signal to downlink sites across the country. The programs will run for 3 hours (with a 15 minute break at about the program's midpoint):

Eastern time: 12:30p.m.-3:30p.m.
Central time: 11:30a.m.-2:30p.m.
Western time: 10:30a.m.-1:30p.m.
Pacific time: 9:30a.m.-12:30p.m.

The broadcasts will be free one-way transmissions. Audience questions from remote sites will be submitted by fax or e-mail for interactive discussion at key points during the program.

Future training sessions will be based on the same textbook (Recognizing Child Abuse: A Guide for the Concerned) and curriculum (Recognizing Child Abuse: The Trainer's Manual). To purchase the textbook or curriculum please visit our online store.

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Audience: The program targets individuals who see children who may be abused or neglected, including professionals who are legally mandated to report suspected cases and those who train them. The programs are designed for both (1) mandated professional reporters and others who report suspected child abuse and neglect, and (2) child protective and child welfare workers who must investigate or handle reported cases. They will also be appropriate as pre-service and in-service training for child protective and child welfare workers.

Mandated professional reporters include physicians, nurses, emergency room personnel, coroners and medical examiners, dentists, mental health professionals (psychologists and therapists), social workers, teachers and other school officials, day care or child care workers, and law enforcement personnel.

In some states, the list of those required to report suspected child abuse also includes pharmacists, foster parents, clergy, attorneys, day care licensing inspectors, film or photo processors, substance abuse counselors, children's camp counselors and staff, family mediators, staff and volunteers in child abuse information and referral programs, and religious healers (such as Christian Science practitioners).

Instructor: The trainer/instructor is Douglas J. Besharov, a professor at the Maryland School of Public Affairs and first director of the United States National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect (1975-1979). Professor Besharov has conducted training on this and related subjects before professionals and community groups for almost 30 years.

Textbook: The textbook for the videoconferences is Recognizing Child Abuse: A Guide for the Concerned (The Free Press, 1990), written by the trainer, Douglas J. Besharov. The textbook is used and referred to throughout the videoconferences in lieu of other handouts and materials. Although the textbook is not mandatory, it is strongly recommended and required for those individuals planning to register to receive CEU Certificates. Discounts are available for orders of multiple copies. Here is an online order form that has that information. If you are interested in ordering the book fax that form back to Welfare Reform Academy at (202)862-5802.

Training Curriculum: Trainer Douglas J. Besharov has created a training manual: Recognizing Child Abuse: The Trainer's Manual that is designed to be used by professional trainers.

Recognizing Child Abuse: The Trainer's Manual consists of a simple, concise text divided into self-contained training modules designed to help trainers teach child-serving professionals how to recognize and report all forms of child abuse and neglect. The manual features a special segment for trainers. An important objective of the videoconferences is the training of individuals who will, in turn, train their staffs and others. Hence, each program will begin with a "train-the-trainers" segment, addressed to professional trainers (although this segment will be useful instruction for all attendees). This segment will describe Recognizing Child Abuse: The Trainer's Manual, a complete training curriculum comprising 21 teaching modules organized into four units, accompanied by almost 100 overheads.

The curriculum contains everything trainers need to conduct their own training sessions on child abuse recognition and reporting. Individual modules can be presented independently of one another, and are easily adaptable to accommodate sessions that are as short as three hours, two hours, and even one hour. The curriculum follows the structure of the textbook, Recognizing Child Abuse: A Guide for the Concerned, in order to facilitate using them together, though individual modules can be presented independently of one another.

Past Training Sessions

Child Abuse Training Session, October 6, 1999: The first Child Abuse Identification and Reporting training session was broadcast live via satellite from the University of Maryland on October 6, 1999. It was the first (and most general in scope) of a series of training sessions scheduled to be broadcast over the course of the next year.

Cosponsoring the videoconference were Parents Anonymous, Inc. and Prevent Child Abuse America. Over 500 registered downlink sites participated in the broadcast. In addition, the program was broadcast live by the Health & Sciences (HSTN) and Law Enforcement (LETN) television networks to an additional 2,500 sites. Although, we estimate that up to 10,000 individuals in fields ranging from pediatrics to day care viewed our program.

The training was conducted in lecture format and supplemented with overheads designed for long-distance learning. The program was divided into the following topics: Trainer's preview; Making a difference; Reporting obligations; Liability for failing to report; Protection for those who report; Sources of suspicion; Key concepts; Physical abuse; Sexual abuse; Physical neglect; and Being prepared.

Here is a sampling of the comments from our October 1999 program:

"Quite simply, your presentation was outstanding. Apart from the valuable information you provided, your 'TV persona' was both relaxed and immediate. The camera work was excellent because the viewers felt you were speaking directly to us (speaking for my wife and myself). You approached the material with a remarkably appropriate blend of seriousness required of the material and with good humor and telling examples. Where someone else might have overpowered viewers with legal jargon, you kept the material lucid and down to earth. Kudos! And thanks!"

"We were able to get 3 hours of CEU credit from the Ohio Licensing Board for Counselors and Social Workers. Speaks well for the quality of your materials, instructors and information. I was surprised at how fast 3 1/2 hours went, it really kept our attention. Please keep us informed of any upcoming videoconferences. I'm sure that after others speak with those who attended this one - I will be able to get more people."

"Professor Besharov did a wonderful job. Logical presentation and development of issues. Perhaps you can have an expert panel for your next videoconference. We had seven registrants from Johnson City, TN but 40 showed up for the start of program and 25 were still in attendance for our local roundtable. Plenty of questions were asked."

"Very organized seminar. This was informative and helped me to better understand the reporting process. More videoconferences would be good learning tools and educational for our community. The more information made available to the public, the greater the awareness will be for our county."

"As a case manager, I am at times unsure when and what to report. The speaker was very knowledgeable. Great training! I would like to have training on signs and symptoms of all types of abuse."

Continuing Education Certificates

The Maryland School of Public Affairs will offer certificates of continuing education to all individuals who complete the training course and pass the relevant tests. Eleven hours of credit will be offered for each program and associated study.

To receive certificates, participants are required to apply online through our website. Participants must: (1) take a pretest; (2) read the course textbook Recognizing Child Abuse: A Guide for the Concerned; (3) view a live or video-taped version of a videoconference; and 4) pass a post-conference test. Tests may be taken online and certificates will be mailed upon passing the post-conference test. There is a $50 fee for the CEU certificate, or $210 for all sessions, which includes a copy of the textbook (paid via a secure credit card transaction).

The certificates are recognized for continuing education units (CEUs) by the Maryland Board of Social Work Examiners and the Maryland State Department of Education. Because the laws governing issuance of continuing education units vary from state to state and profession to profession, we cannot guarantee that other states will recognize the certificates for CEU credit. However, our experience is that the certificates have been recognized by other states' comparable agencies.

**Go here to register for CEU's.

Other questions? Email the Welfare Reform Academy.

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