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Developmental Approach to the Treatment of the Abused Child (From The Battered Child, P 360-381, 1987, Ray E Helfer and Ruth S Kempe, eds. -- See NCJ-111195)

NCJ Number
R S Kempe
Date Published
22 pages
After discussing the context for treating child abuse victims, this paper describes methods for treating the abused or neglected infant, the preschool abused child, the school-age child, and the abused adolescent.
The choice of treatment modalities for abused children should vary with the victim's age, developmental level, and specific symptoms. Treatment should begin whenever the diagnosis is first made. It may begin with the prospective parents before the baby is born or right after delivery with extra support services for at-risk parents. It may begin during infancy with lay home visitors, infant medical care, and the encouragement of better mother-child interactions through professional intervention, parenting classes, or parent groups. Should foster care be required, the foster parents must be trained to promote a relationship with the natural family with the aim of returning the child to the parents as soon as possible. Good day care and continued support for parents is helpful. If treatment begins during preschool years, therapeutic day care or preschool may be required. This can be supplemented by individual play therapy and parental involvement. An increase in the therapeutic capabilities of day-care, preschool, and school personnel is important. During the abused child's school years, more established treatment programs should be used, including private or clinic psychotherapy, special school programs, group therapy, relationship programs, residential treatment, or hospitalization. Similar treatment programs should be available for adolescents, with particular attention to help for sexually abused adolescents. 27 references.