Having read in my last post all the destructive effects on people who have been abused and/or neglected as a child, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) states the following:
- The goals of psychiatric intervention must be first, the protection of children and other family members from maltreatment and second, the provision of relevant treatments for children and their families with the aim of reversing the psychological and physical sequelae of the maltreatment, improving the quality of parenting, and preserving the family unit whenever possible.
- Psychiatrists need to be informed of the mandatory reporting requirements of all applicable laws. The reporting of maltreatment to the appropriate agency is the responsibility of any psychiatrist treating either or both children and adults.
- The needs of children for adequate protection from abuse and neglect and for adequate treatment or care in order to recover from the psychic trauma of victimization must supersede the support for the integrity, reintegration, or reunification of children’s families.
- Parental religious convictions should not stand in the way of providing children and adolescents with essential life-saving medical care, including such psychiatric care. Medical child neglect must be considered present if such care for children is refused by the parents.
- Whenever alleged abuse or neglect of a child is of such magnitude as to warrant legal action, whether in a civil or a criminal court, it should be the obligation of that court to provide both independent advocacy for the child and psychiatric evaluations of the child and the child’s primary caretaker(s) in order to guide the court regarding the protection of the child. These psychiatric evaluations should include recommendations to the court regarding the child’s participation in legal proceedings; any need for psychiatric evaluations of the child, for the perpetrator (parents or parental substitutes) of the child’s alleged maltreatment, and for other family members; placement of the child; and/or the termination of parental rights.