What Does a Child Abuse Worker Do?

Christina Edwards

A child abuse worker has many job duties, many of which involve difficult decisions. For instance, they will typically determine if a child is actually being abused, and make a decision regarding whether a child should stay in his home. A child abuse worker may also aid in family counseling or refer a family to special counseling services. These workers may also accompany a victim to court, and help place an abused child in a temporary or permanent home.

A child abuse worker usually determines whether abuse is present in a household.
A child abuse worker usually determines whether abuse is present in a household.

After receiving a report of suspected child abuse, a child abuse worker must investigate to determine if the report can be validated. This investigation will usually require numerous visits to a child's home. In doing so, she will often be able to determine whether a child's living conditions are safe and suitable.

Advocates often step in speak on behalf of the abused child.
Advocates often step in speak on behalf of the abused child.

She will also interview the occupants of a household, particularly any children who may be abused. Interviews with children are typically conducted with no parents around, which may cause them to open up more. Other family members, such as parents and siblings, will also typically be interviewed. Depending on the situation, a child abuse worker may also interview teachers and other school officials.

Child abuse refers to harm that is done to a minor.
Child abuse refers to harm that is done to a minor.

In a case of possible physical or sexual abuse, children may also need to undergo a thorough medical examination. Any unexplained marks may be a sign of physical child abuse. Infections or injury of the genitalia may also indicate possible sexual abuse, especially in younger children.

After taking all of the evidence into consideration, a child abuse worker will make a decision regarding whether abuse is present in the home. In some instances, there will be no evidence to support this claim. If this is the case, the case will be closed.

If there is evidence that a child may be being mistreated, a child abuse worker will try to rectify the situation. Children who are in no immediate danger will typically remain in the home. Most of the time, the worker will periodically visit the home to check on the situation. She may also refer the family to a child abuse therapist or child abuse education service. The ultimate goal in these cases is to help improve the quality of the home life for both the child and the parents, or guardians.

Sometimes, a child abuse worker may have reason to suspect that a child is in danger if he remains in his current situation. In these cases, he will typically be placed with other carefully screened family members, or in a temporary protective facility or foster home. Visitations between the abused child and parents is also usually encouraged. A child abuse worker will often act as a victim's advocate, supervising visitations and accompanying an abused child to family court, if necessary.

Although it is not the goal of child abuse workers to separate children from their families, this is sometimes the case. In the unfortunate event that an abused child can not or should not be returned to his home or parents, a child abuse worker may need to find a more permanent living arrangement for him. Ideally, abused children are placed with caring relatives. Since this is not possible in every case, some abused children are adopted by willing and carefully screened families.

Child abuse workers often handle cases dealing with emotional trauma.
Child abuse workers often handle cases dealing with emotional trauma.

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Discussion Comments


dear anon181989

Stay calm and listen carefully to your child about the abuse. Encourage the child to speak freely, but do not ask detailed questions about the abuse. Reassure the child. Tell the child that you believe her, that telling you was the right thing to do, and that he or she has not done anything wrong. Take action. Call the child abuse hotline immediately: 1-800-25-ABUSE. If there are immediate safety concerns, also call 911.

It is not your responsibility to investigate abuse, interview the child or get all the facts. Just contact the authorities with what you know or suspect so that children and your family get the support and care they need.


My daughter has a learning disability. She is 20 years old. She has a two year old daughter whom she has taken care of since birth. The father wanted nothing to do with the child until he was ordered to pay child support. He then took her to court and told them that she didn't live with her daughter, that her daughter lived with me (which was true they have both lived with me), and he lied to the courts and said she denied him visitation, which also wasn't true. When he didn't show up she even gave him make up days.

When he would show up for them, her daughter was always coming back from him filthy, hungry and thirsty and multiple marks on her head and face and back, and his dog bit her on the neck. When they went before the referee, she answered a lot of questions wrong because she wasn't fully answering correctly because of her disability so it made her look even worse. So he now has temporary full legal custody of her two year old since April 2011. Within 24 hours, he pulled her daughter's hair out and shaved it and hacked it all up – very disturbing. She first saw her again two days later and she was telling her mom daddy scares her.

We called cps and they said that they couldn't do anything because her scalp wasn't bleeding, and her scalp wasn't torn off. The weekend came and he denied the mother her visitation, so she didn't see her again until the following wednesday. She had welts and he chopped her hair more. To make this short, she has had welts on her, adult bite marks, hair pulled out, bruises, contusions, poor hygiene, hungry, thirsty, stinky clothes, clothes too small, shoes too big, aggressiveness, screams in her sleep, scared to death to go back to him. She is now showing signs of sexual abuse, the hospital has called cps twice and her doctor has called once. What do we do? Please help us!

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