NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ834951
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Apr
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0145-2134
Children with Disabilities in the Child Protective Services System: An Analog Study of Investigation and Case Management
Manders, Jeanette E.; Stoneman, Zolinda
Child Abuse & Neglect: The International Journal, v33 n4 p229-237 Apr 2009
Objective: The study used a series of vignettes to investigate how the presence of three disabilities (cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities, emotional/behavioral disabilities) affects the processes and outcomes of child abuse investigations at two levels of child injury severity (moderate, severe). Method: Seventy-five CPS case workers completed study surveys and answered questions in response to a series of eight vignettes. Results: This study revealed differences in the responses of CPS case workers when the alleged victim of physical abuse had a disability. Children with disabilities were more likely than children without disabilities to be seen as having characteristics that contributed to their abuse. Most CPS workers felt at least some empathy with abusive parents; empathy was highest when the children had emotional/behavioral disabilities. Services recommended for families of children with disabilities were more likely to be child-focused. Parent-focused services, such as individual counseling and adult anger management, were more likely to be recommended for families of children without disabilities. In general, differences among disability groups and between cases involving children with and without disabilities were more pronounced when the children's injuries were less severe. Even with more severe injuries, such as a concussion or broken bones, the CPS workers still responded differently depending on the disability status of the child victims. Conclusions: Recommendations are made concerning the utilization of investigation teams that include disability specialists and the need for further disability-related training for CPS case workers. Practice implications: There is a strong need for training related to disability, with an emphasis on attitudes as well as knowledge and skills. The training should include examples of healthy family functioning and positive aspects of parenting a child with a disability to counteract the prevailing perception of disability as a cause of chronic stress and dysfunction; identification of broader ecological contexts in which these families live, including social response to disability and the disability-related service system and; strategies for disentangling the signs of abuse from characteristics of the disability. Interdisciplinary teams should include members from disability-related fields to share expertise and increase communication between systems. (Contains 2 figures and 1 table.)
Elsevier. 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, FL 32887-4800. Tel: 877-839-7126; Tel: 407-345-4020; Fax: 407-363-1354; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A