As a childcare provider, your relationship with the parents is important. You do not want to ruin your good relationship with the parents. However, your responsibility to the children comes first. You may have to talk to parents about child abuse. Your reasons for talking to parents may be different. You may want to know the parents better and may want to interact with them one-on-one. You may suspect possible abuse or see possible signs of abuse in a child and may want to talk to the parents about it. You may even have to tell the parents that a child abuse report has been filed against them. Whatever the reasons may be, talking to parents about abuse is not easy. It is a very sensitive issue and must be handled carefully.
Here are some considerations to keep in mind when talking to parents about child abuse:
Identify the appropriate person to talk to the parents. It is
important that you first identify the person who should talk to the parents.
Most often, it is the person that directly takes care of the child, which
is you. In certain situations, it might be appropriate to have your supervisor
or the director of the child care center present with you at the meeting.
There might be situations where a team needs to be present at the meeting.
Other people who could possibly be present at the meeting include a social
worker, CPS agency representative, pediatrician etc.
Dealing with child abuse is not easy. You must keep in mind that there are many situations that are not clear cases of abuse. Sometimes, it is very difficult to recognize abuse or neglect. It is also very difficult to approach parents about abuse. You must be very careful and sensitive when dealing with abuse. Also, your interactions with a child and the parents will influence how you feel about them. It will affect how you want to handle a situation of abuse. You must keep personal thoughts and feelings out of this. There may be times when you cannot believe that a child’s parents, relatives or family friends can possible abuse a child. You must remember that abuse and neglect can happen in any family and with any child. People who abuse children can be of any race, gender, income level, educational level or culture. As a child care provider, your responsibility to the safety of the children in your care is most important.
For more information, contact Judith A. Myers-Walls, PhD, CFLE at firstname.lastname@example.org
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