A Call to Action on Behalf of Maltreated Infants and Toddlers :A Developmental Approach to Child Welfare Services for Infants, Toddlers, and Their Families

Abuse and neglect threaten the healthy futures of thousands of infants and toddlers. Every year almost 200,000 children from birth to 3 years old come into contact with the child welfare system; more than a third of them are placed in foster care. These very young children are at a critical point developmentally, and the maltreatment that has brought them to the system has occurred at a time when their brains are developing most rapidly, chemically changing and damaging the brain’s architecture.

This 2011 article sponsored by the American Humane Association, the Center for the Study of Social Policy, the Child Welfare League of America, the Children’s Defense Fund, and ZERO TO THREE, calls on the moral imperative we have to protect children with safe environments and developmental support. The article points out that we cannot afford to burden our economy with the demands that maltreated babies will make as they grow up. Costs associated with special education programs, foster care, incarceration, mental health services, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, and the risk of continuing the cycle of maltreatment with their own children are expenses our society can ill afford.

Read the complete article here.

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