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The Section on Child Abuse and Neglect (SOCAN) was founded in 1990 and is dedicated to improving the recognition and care of infants, children, and adolescents who are abused and neglected. The SOCAN provides an educational forum for the discussion on the diagnosis, challenges, treatments, and prevention of child abuse and neglect.  In addition, objectives of the Section include fostering research in child abuse and neglect and serving in a consulting capacity to the AAP Board of Directors on policy and other issues in this area. The SOCAN works closely with the Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect (COCAN) which develops policy recommendations for consideration by the Board of Directors and state legislators.

Membership in SOCAN is open to all Fellows of the AAP.  SOCAN members need not be trained in, have experience or expertise in, or be practicing in the field of Child Abuse Pediatrics.  Membership in the Section should not be construed as evidence of certification or expertise in Child Abuse and Neglect. If you are interested in learning more about subspecialty certification in Child Abuse Pediatrics, visit the American Board of Pediatrics Web site.

What's New

Child Abuse Prevention Month

April was designated Child Abuse Prevention Month by presidential proclamation in 1983. The observance raises awareness about child abuse prevention by educating individuals and communities about how they can help prevent abuse and neglect of children. We each play a part in promoting the social and emotional well-being of children and families in communities.

The US Department of Health and Human Services and the Human Services' Children's Bureau, Office of Child Abuse and Neglect worked with its Child Welfare Information Gateway to develop a community resource guide to promote child abuse prevention activities throughout the year. The 2014 Resource Guide includes tip Sheets (English and Spanish) addressing particular parenting concerns or questions to distribute to parents and caregivers, and three activity calendars (English and Spanish) with daily activities relating to the protective factors. The National Child Abuse Prevention Month website also has a video gallery, a media toolkit and widgets to post on your website.

More child abuse prevention Resources:

Scientific Understanding of Abusive Head Trauma for a Non-Technical Audience
Drs. Cindy Christian and Bob Sege presented to the journalism students of the Medill Innocence Project at Northwestern University on Nov. 8th, 2013.  Their presentation to the students presents the scientific understanding of abusive head trauma for a non-technical audience and can be found in the SOCAN members only section (sign in required ). To learn more about the Medill Innocence project, visit http://www.medilljusticeproject.org/.

Addressing the Bigger Picture: Adverse Childhood Experiences in Pediatric Settings
The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study is one of the largest investigations ever done to examine the links between childhood maltreatment and later-life health and well-being. The study findings suggest that certain experiences are major risk factors for the leading causes of illness and death. This online course will describe three effects of ACEs on children and parents, and offer tools and strategies including video vignettes for parents and caregivers as well as for providers, demonstrating how pediatricians can discuss ACE’s to promote trauma-informed pediatric care. Available in October – for more information http://www.healthcaresaboutipv.org/specific-settings/pediatric-health/.

A Resource to Help Pediatricians Identify and Care for Children Exposed to Violence
Children exposed to violence are at higher risk for issues like obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.  Interventions are most effective when initiated early.  A grant from the Department of Justice has supported the development of a Web portal that provides pediatricians the resources they need in this area.

Visit www.aap.org/medhomecev to get:

  • Research and information on the prevalence and impact
  • Sample questions and video demos on how to address exposure to violence with families
  • Resources for parents
  • Educational opportunities

Upcoming Meetings/Conferences
Click here to see upcoming continuing medical education/trainings.

Statistics
The number of reported child abuse and neglect incidents has dropped nationwide for the fifth consecutive year, according to a Child Maltreatment 2011 report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families (ACF).  The report estimates 681,000 cases of child abuse or neglect across the country in 2011. While this indicates a steady decrease since 2007, when there were approximately 723,000 reports of abuse, it also serves as a reminder that there is much work still to be done.

While child abuse and neglect in general have dropped steadily over the past five years, the estimated number of child fatalities due to maltreatment has fluctuated.  After peaking at 1,740 child fatalities in 2009, fatalities are now at a five-year low of 1,570.  The report also describes the characteristics of families experiencing maltreatment.  According to the report:

  • 53.6 percent of the abusers were women.
  • 48.4 percent were Caucasian, 20.2 percent were African-American, and 19.2 percent were Hispanic.
  • 80.8 percent of the abusers were the victim's parent.
  • Some of the victims were exposed to domestic violence (25.1 percent), drug abuse (18.6 percent), or alcohol abuse (9.8 percent) in their homes.  Some states did not track risk factors.

Statements/Reports