by My Two Cents
Where to start.....I'm a social worker by training. I don't work in child welfare though. I considered returning to school for my master's in social work but the timing and money never clicked for me.
So, I was visiting the site frequently in the past, and I would say I've read the majority of the stories in here.
Something occurred to me at some point and I have been toying with writing some kind of a book with a child welfare investigator as a character. I wanted to have the character do something "new" that other social workers could read and copy in their professional lives.
It's not a problem to find some type of abuse that happens to someone. Unfortunately, a Google search will turn up billions of hits. Even if you narrow it down to specific types of abuse such as emotional, neglect, physical, sexual or verbal, the search results are still in the millions.
What I am struggling with is a new way for people to discover abuse. In 2016 it appears the way abuse comes to light is through disclosure or witnesses. There's no tool similar to the metal detectors in some schools to find weapons on students. No social worker can look at someone and *know* that further investigation is warranted.
I can see some indicators - if the investigator had access to the family's financial information, maybe s/he could identify that the family is not buying winter coats and they could check if they received donations or gifts from somewhere or if it is a case of neglect. Most social workers don't have this type of information, nor are they likely to have time to follow up on these indicators. The school safety programs are good but the student has to be there (minus home-schooled and ill kids) and if something seems off to the presenters, they need to be able to follow up on it. What are the chances that....say 4 presenters can follow up with 600 possible students?
The easy thing would be to have a character with some type of super-power such as mind-reading ability - that would make it real easy.....but not what I am hoping to achieve.
So....after that lengthy bit of writing, here's my question for everyone:
What would indicate to a child abuse investigator that you are experiencing abuse? Other than you saying something such as "He touched me here!"
I can't help but think there has to be a better way to find the victims and help them get out of that situation, start the healing and become survivors. But.....what is the TOOL that will allow people to do this?
I thought of daily or weekly physical check ups when the child arrives at school. This seems like an invasion of privacy as well as very resource intensive in terms of staff and time to do it. Sending in an undercover police officer - but is a female undercover police officer going to date a possible abuser and wait to catch him in the act?
Once the investigation starts, perhaps medical evidence is found or pornographic proof of abuse. The problem is the start of the investigation. My character will need some type of tool that s/he can use again and again and get the same results, that is find abuse if it is occurring. Gut feelings won't work.
If someone has an idea.....by all means, let's hear it!
My Two Cents
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