Sonora, Ca — Today we will focus on Child Abuse as we continue our series on the 2008 Tuolumne County Community Indicators Project.
Why is this important?
Child abuse and neglect rates are critical to the overall health of our community as they can help predict the needs of families and can help the community in tailoring services to meet these needs.
What is the measure?
The rates and types of child abuse/neglect are tracked in Child Welfare Service/Case Management System, a statewide Child Welfare database. The system also includes information on whether the abuse was substantiated, inconclusive, or unfounded.
How are we doing?
While the number of child abuse/neglect investigations has remained relatively constant over the past several years, these numbers have declined compared to years prior. There has also been a slight reduction in the number of substantiated cases. These reductions could be indicators of recent efforts within the County to focus on child abuse prevention and on prosecution.
One such movement known as “Differential Response” allows Social Workers and other service providers to reach out to families and refer them to appropriate resources before their situation rises to an unsafe level. Though the County´s child abuse/neglect rates are higher than the California average, this statistic may represent a local philosophy of proactive child protection practices.
Because drug use is a major factor in cases of child abuse/neglect, Child Welfare Services works closely with local Law Enforcement officials on cases involving parental substance abuse.
Tomorrow we will focus on access to healthcare resources as we continue our series on the 2008 Tuolumne County Community Indicators Project. To view the Community Indicators Project in its entirety click www.tuolumnecountyprofile.org.
Written by BJ Hansen