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Child Neglect - Where Is My Mummy?

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Qianni Shen

English 105

Paper 2

April 11th, 2016

Where is my Mummy?

“Who are the most important person in your life?” A question that would need to be deeply thought over, the answer that first came to mind might be of all sorts: best friends, lover, life safer... and of all, parents will no doubt be the final answer for most of us. The two people you have known and loved from the first moment of your life, the two people you trusted the most and relied on when your world was just a blank. Second question, “Who can hurt you the most?” Generally, the answer will be by those who you cherish and felt most important about. So, how hurt it would be if your parents break your heart, and that is everyday desperation for most of the children who are suffering from “parental neglect”. By far, A Reuters website published this year which reported on data from 2013 and 2012 shows that child neglect is the most common form of child mistreatment in the United States. In 2013, 78.3% of maltreatment cases are of children being neglected; in 2012, over 1540 children died because of neglect (FindLaw, 2016)

     Parental neglect, legally,  means that a crime that omits the responsibility of a parent which endangers the health and life of a child (the Free Dictionary, 2016). Parental neglect falls into two major categories. Kids under the age of 16 is the obvious one like physical, educational, medical neglect which were being noticed by government and the society that might be blamed on poverty. The other, is more less obvious and highly dangerous, the emotional neglect of the rich kids. These are the ones who got everything they have except the love from their families.

There are different kinds of neglect that might occur to a child. The first is physical neglect, this includes both not providing enough food and shelters and being physically abusive towards the kids. The failure to have adequate basic necessaries for a child to grow up might leads to all kinds of consequences like malnutrition and serious illness cause by hunger and not enough supplies for the organs to develop (Diaz, 2002). Second one is educational neglect, unable to enroll the child into mandatory facilities for education, or just ignore if the kids have learning disorders which might cause difficulties in schooling. This might lead to failing to have basic skills of living and the loss of interest of kids to be educated, bring with it school dropouts and disruptive behaviors. Third one is medical neglect which is not able to provide health care, placing the kids to a dangerous situation of dying. According to NCANDS (the National Child Abuse and Neglect data System), there were 2% of children in the States who were the victim of medical neglects, and the numbers raised to 8.6 % in 2013 (Child Welfare Information, 2015). All the neglect might be severely hurting the kids and be a huge block on their way of growing up. Despite some uncured childhood disease might lead to lifelong illness, most children might intend to show more signs of refusing to accept treatments from institutions when they were taken to these places to get help, because they lacked these cares from his family from a kid, it has been usual for him to stay quiet in the corner and let the wound heal on its own.

A lot might argue that poverty might be one factor that leads to parental neglect, medical fee, education tuition and… are expensive for a poor family, and parents may busy working so they can give the child a better in the future. True, studies showed that children lived in poverty are more likely to have bad performance on cognitive measures and more likely to suffer from chronic health problems (Houshyar. S., 2014). The Third National Incidence study of Child Abuse and Neglect indicate that children from low income families, $15,000 per year, were 22 times more likely have been neglected than middle class families with $30,000 per year (Duva, 2012) However, those aren’t the excuses for neglecting your kids. State and national governments have given out welfares to those poor families so the kids can lead a better childhood and grow up healthily. The family Economic Success Learning Network launched in 2009 by the Center for the Study of Social Policy, which helps these vulnerable families with grants and programs (Houshyar. S., 2014). So keep on neglecting the children shouldn’t be tolerated. 

Due to different states and different levels of the crime, sentences for parental neglect fall to different kinds. The easiest is fines, it differs from several hundreds to several thousands of dollars. Then is incarceration, here is one case on child neglect.  News in 2015 which a New Mexico mom left three children of her, aged 1,3 and 6 in a locked car unattended in phoenix (Woodworth. W. M, 2015).  The outside temperature was 87 degrees and the children were “too hot to hot” when the troops arrived. Manuelito, the mother, was arrested, and the children were in the custody by the State Department of Child Safety (Woodworth. W. M, 2015).  Incarceration is very common for misdemeanors, which may bring from few days to a year, while felony can get 10 years or more. However, despite these, there are other different penalties, courts can limit parental rights, imposing restraining orders, placing kids into protective custody or foster families, the severest one, the court can remove parents right to care for the child since the parents didn’t take the responsibilities they need to (Theoharis. M., 2015).

Though poverty is one big part that leads to the neglect, that isn’t the only reason, rich family can also have the problem of parental neglect. There is a saying called “poor rich kid”, those who are rich materially but poor emotionally. Despite the family heritage, most family who are wealthy was because of the parents’ hard work, but hard work meaning long hours and busy schedules, which leads them less hours spent with their child or more severe cases, they put their kids behind their work as priority. As an example, Beth (not her real name) was born in a wealthy suburban family with a father who is a doctor (Berdik, 2006). He was so devoted to his patients and spend more time with them than his own children. The mother would beat the children when they displeased her and since the age of eight, Beth was sexually assaulted by her brother and a neighbor. What her dad did what giving her pills but no questions been asked. Beth was severely neglected, abused and one of many who were the victim of her most beloved families. (Berdik, 2006) Today, Beth is a grown up who has her own child, according to her, the only wish she has is to “be a better mother to my children than mine”. She wouldn’t want her children to suffered as she did (Berdik, 2006).



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