Child maltreatment can happen in any setting. Head Start programs need leadership, support for staff, and training to make sure children are safe from harm while in our care.
In this issue, learn more about oral health signs of physical and sexual abuse. Also, find resources for Head Start staff to help them support families.
Infant caregivers can experience high levels of stress in their work. Persistent infant crying, for example, may lead caregivers to shake young infants. This can result in head trauma that can damage a baby's brain. Learn ways to help infant caregivers and families recognize the signs and symptoms of head trauma, manage stress, and prevent abuse.
Head Start directors and teachers, health service managers, and other staff sometimes have to make a decision about whether to report a child whom they suspect may have been abused or neglected. This webinar helps provide some guidance on how to make that decision. The webinar also offers an overview of the types and frequency of abuse and neglect in the United States.
Caregivers/teachers should be educated on child abuse and neglect to establish child abuse and neglect prevention and recognition strategies for children, caregivers/teachers, and parents/guardians. The education should address physical, sexual, and psychological or emotional abuse and neglect. Caregivers/teachers are mandatory reporters of child abuse or neglect. Caregivers/teachers should be trained in compliance with their state's child abuse reporting laws.
Family services, parent involvement, and other social services staff may use this resource to design programs to help young children cope with traumatic events.
All programs should have a policy and procedure to identify and prevent shaken baby syndrome and abusive head trauma. All caregivers/teachers who are in direct contact with children, including substitute caregivers/teachers and volunteers, should receive training on preventing shaken baby syndrome and abusive head trauma; recognition of potential signs and symptoms of shaken baby syndrome and abusive head trauma; strategies for coping with a crying, fussing, or distraught child; and the development and vulnerabilities of the brain in infancy and early childhood.
Because caregivers/teachers are mandated reporters of child abuse and neglect, each program should have a written policy for reporting child abuse and neglect. The written policy should specify that in any instance where there is reasonable cause to believe that child abuse or neglect has occurred, the individual who suspects child abuse or neglect should report directly to the child abuse reporting hotline, child protective services, or the police, as required by state and local laws.