Problem Prioritization

Fighting child maltreatment (abuse and neglect) is not a skill problem, it is a will problem.

“Discipline your children, for while there is yet hope, do not set your heart to willingness on their deaths.” {Proverbs 19:18; T^Boan translation]

Rather than being taught anything… we, as children, are told. We are told… and scolded if we don’t… to adopt an alien systematic of bad habits… or else. And all for our own blissfully ignorant good… they say! This telling us to obey or else… equates to that we only ever struggle with our dualistic understanding of the universe and life that we are told to focus on. So, even if we do make all the right choices, there is always the chance and maybe even the guarantee of making the complete opposite ones as well. Transcend beyond this alien agenda and… think… how can I… we… scale this set of knowledges and knowhows together up to maximum effect in achieving our true potentials as individuals and groups!?

Evil will ever rely on our ineffective willpower. It knows we have been raised to be complacent when it comes to fighting against evil… because working together is not necessary to stay stuck in the dualistic mental process of “Am I happy?” No… fighting against evil is not a happy task.

As a child, do you ever recall anyone arming you with knowledge of abusers at or to[ward] (not of, because it is never a child’s fault) children? Probably, not once! This is because rather than eat that frog *… most parents and teachers would just simply not step up to bat at that plate. No, let the children be blissfully ignorant! I never think about it. Why should my child?

* “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” {Mark Twain)

As a parent, as a teacher… as a human being… it IS your job!

Because… children are at the front lines in a war of good (innocence) versus evil. Empowering children with the knowledge and knowhows they need to avoid and evade abusers at or to[ward] children… is the same as arming front line soldiers in a war with the tools and support systems they need to win!

WHAT am I talking about?
Problem prioritization = tackling the most important and urgent problem first, together.

WHEN are we going to really talk about evil?

WHERE are we going to fight against evil?
Everywhere we can!

HOW can we work together more effectively against evil?
With intelligent minds and courageous hearts!

WHY does TOPC exist?
See above.

The Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) requires each State to have provisions or procedures for requiring certain individuals to report known or suspected instances of child abuse and neglect.

{42 U.S.C. § 5106a(b)(2)(B)(i)}

CAPTA needs to be made totally inclusive… to the effect that ALL individuals must report known or suspected instances of child abuse and neglect.

Warning signs and symptoms of child abuse and neglect vary from child to child. Children have different ways of coping, and the signs often depend on each child’s characteristics and environment. As a parent, you have the responsibility to keep your child safe. One way you can do that is by observing the behaviors and interactions of your child at home and with their friends. Please keep in mind the following warning signs and possible indicators of abuse in order to help keep children safe. While the following signs are not proof that a child is the subject of abuse or neglect, they should prompt one to look further.

Warning Signs of Sexual Abuse in Children

  • Child reports of sexual abuse by a parent or another adult caregiver
  • Has difficulty walking or sitting
  • Has a sudden weight change
  • Has frequent somatic complaints, stomach or head ache, sore throat
  • Suddenly refuses to change clothes for gym or to participate in physical activities
  • Has sudden negative change in appearance
  • Has frequent urinary or yeast infections not explained by medical condition or treatment
  • Becomes pregnant or contracts a sexually transmitted disease (STD), particularly if under age fourteen
  • Runs away Behavioral indicators
  • Shows sudden changes in behavior or school performance
  • Displays knowledge or interest in sexual acts inappropriate to his or her age
  • Is inappropriately seductive
  • Has sophisticated knowledge or interested in sexual activity and behaviors beyond same age peers
  • Perpetrates sexual activity with another child, particularly a younger or more vulnerable child
  • Is overly protective of siblings
  • Avoids a specific person without an obvious reason
  • Talks a lot about an adult
  • Is threatened by physical contact, closeness
  • Is always watchful, as though preparing for something bad to happen
  • Comes to school early, stays late, and does not want to go home
  • Runs away from home

Additional indicators for adolescents:

  • Is self-destructive
  • Is considered promiscuous
  • Abuses drugs or alcohol
  • Self mutilates or attempts suicide
  • Develops an eating disorder
  • Runs away 

Warning Signs of Child at or to[ward] Child Sexual Abuse

  • Low self-esteem
  • Shows unusual signs of anxiety
  • Shows signs of guilt
  • Exhibits signs of depression
  • Becomes more angry and hostile

Additional indicators for adolescents:

  • Shows signs of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Suicidal thoughts or ideation
  • Misses or skips a lot of school
  • Runs away from home
  • Abuses drugs or alcohol
  • Is sexually promiscuous 

Warning Signs of Physical Abuse in Children

  • Reports of an injury by a parent or another adult caregiver
  • Has unexplained bruises or injuries
  • Has linear bruising, especially when seen on the buttocks, legs, arms and back
  • Has injuries where children don’t normally – on the face, legs, bottom or torso
  • Has bruising in various stages of healing especially when on different body parts
  • Has bruises in the shape of an object, a hand, shoe, iron, stick, belt, etc.
  • Has fading bruises or other marks noticeable after an absence from school Behavioral indicators
  • Provides difficult to believe explanations for injuries
  • Has difficulty sitting, complains of soreness or moves uncomfortably
  • Wears clothing to cover body especially when inappropriate to weather
  • Reports mistreatment of animals in the home
  • Becomes withdrawn, aggressive or self-destructive
  • Is bullied or is a bully
  • Routinely arrives at school early or stays late
  • Is overly compliant, an overachiever or overly responsible
  • Seems frightened of the parents; appears afraid of being at home
  • Is always watchful and alert – as though preparing for something bad to happen
  • Has learning problems
  • Has behavior changes just prior to going home from school or when picked up
  • Is wary of adult contact; cringes or flinches when others get close

Additional indicators for adolescents:

  • Chronic runaway
  • Engages in violent or dangerous behavior
  • Frequent injuries or unexplained bruises, welts, or cuts.
  • Is always watchful and “on alert” as if waiting for something bad to happen.
  • Injuries appear to have a pattern such as marks from a hand or belt.
  • Shies away from touch, flinches at sudden movements, or seems afraid to go home.
  • Wears inappropriate clothing to cover up injuries, such as long-sleeved shirts on hot days.

Warning Signs of Childhood Bullying

  • Has frequent cuts and/or bruises with excuses to explain them
  • Physical complaints
  • Changes in sleeping or eating patterns
  • Has ripped or torn clothing at the end of the school day
  • Has a sudden reluctance to go to school
  • Lost lunch money or personal possessions and has excuses they seem untrue
  • Spends much more time alone
  • Looking and acting sad

Warning Signs of Cyber Predators and Cyber Bullying

  • Spends large amounts of time on-line, especially at night
  • Pornography found on child’s computer
  • Receives phone calls from men you don’t know or is making calls, sometimes long distance, to numbers you don’t recognize
  • Receives gifts, mail or packages from someone you don’t know
  • Becomes withdrawn from the family
  • Uses an online account that belongs to someone else

Warning Signs of Emotional Abuse in Children

  • Excessively withdrawn, fearful, or anxious about doing something wrong
  • Shows extremes in behavior (extremely compliant or extremely demanding; extremely passive or extremely aggressive)
  • Doesn’t seem to be attached to the parent or caregiver
  • Acts either inappropriately adult-like (taking care of other children) or inappropriately infantile self-soothing behaviors (rocking, thumb-sucking, throwing tantrums) outgrown by peers
  • Has speech delays
  • Reports a lack of attachment to the parent
  • Exhibits frequent somatic complaints typical with anxiety, ulcers, frequent stomach or headaches
  • Is fearful or anxious about doing something wrong or making a mistake
  • Is excessively withdrawn
  • Does not play as other children do
  • Speaks negatively about his/her self
  • Has delayed emotional development, exhibited by crying, whining, temper tantrums, hitting, biting
  • Comes to school early, stays late, and does not want to go home
  • Has learning problems
  • Appears anti-social and or destructive
  • Is bullied or is a bully
  • Attempts suicide

Additional indicators for adolescents:

  • Over eats
  • Abuses alcohol or other drugs
  • Attempts suicide

Warning Signs of Neglect in Children

  • Has not received attention for physical or medical problems
  • Medical needs are only cared for when urgent, has untreated dental needs
  • Has consistently bad hygiene, has unwashed, matted hair and noticeable body odor
  • Clothing is too large or too small or inappropriate for the weather
  • Receives little or no support from family with homework and school activities
  • Reports no caretaker, or inconsistent caretakers at home
  • Has attended numerous schools with delays in enrollment
  • Has no pets or many pets; describes pets as hungry or dying
  • Routinely loses, or does not return school papers, permission slips, etc
  • Does not have money for lunch, arrives to school in time for free meals
  • Is accidentally hurt or abused by someone other than parent while unsupervised Behavioral indicators
  • Is frequently absent from or late to school
  • Is allowed to play in unsafe environments or with unsafe people
  • Is responsible for household, cooking, cleaning, laundry, and care of siblings, not typically seen in children of the same age and family size
  • Feels responsible for meeting the needs of parent
  • Is tired; falls asleep in class
  • Displays excessive need for affection or attention
  • Exhibits self-soothing behaviors, thumb sucking, rocking
  • Has learning problems, speech delays and delayed physical development
  • Is self-destructive, engages in delinquent behavior at a young age
  • Has difficulty making and keeping friends
  • Begs or steals food or money from classmates

Additional indicators for adolescents:

  • Drops out of school
  • Uses drugs or alcohol
  • Increasingly engages in dangerous or delinquent behavior
  • Clothes are ill-fitting, filthy, or inappropriate for the weather
  • Hygiene is consistently bad (unbathed, matted and unwashed hair, noticeable body odor)
  • Untreated illnesses and physical injuries
  • Is frequently unsupervised or left alone or allowed to play in unsafe situations and environments
  • Is frequently late or missing from school

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