Introduction

A Child Suffering

Childhood is a sacred time of safety and well being, where it is the adults’ responsibility to protect the child from experiencing pain (Lieberman & Van Horn, 2004).

However, in reality this is fantasy for some children. For whatever reason, their parents do not protect them from pain and they become abused. Children that come into care and into Parkerville Children and Youth Care have been subjected to maltreatment in the form of abuse (sexual, physical or emotional) or neglect that was so severe the Department for Child Protection have either permanently or temporarily removed them from their natural families.

“Most parents try to do the best they can for their children. But some cannot, or will not meet their children’s most basic needs. Neglected children starve because their parents do not feed them; they freeze when left without clothing in frigid temperatures; and, left alone, they perish in fires. Emotionally neglected children fail to grow properly. Other children are actively abused. They are kicked, beaten, burnt, thrown against walls and radiators, strangled, suffocated, sexually molested, and even burnt alive. They are humiliated and terrorised by the people who are supposed to nurture them.” (Papalia & Olds, 1993, pp.283)

It is an unsettling fact that 85% of all maltreatment incidences against children are committed by someone from their natural families. It is most common for those children coming into care to have suffered chronic abuse and maltreatment and to have suffered multiple forms over a prolonged period of time. In Australia alone, there are approximately 31,166 children living in out of home care and foster care. Of the 317, 526 reports of maltreatment recorded in 2007-2008, only 55,120 were substantiated and even fewer again (34,279) were placed on child protection orders. (Statistics from the period 2007-2008, National Child Protection Clearinghouse, 2009; and Higgins & Bromfield, 2005)

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