A growing number of children are the product of homes where they are neglected or not protected, thus falling into the category of neglect (Garbarino & Collins, 1999).  Violence against children has received more attention than neglect or failure to protect because there are visible bruises.   Neglect or failure to protect a child has been shown by research to be more detrimental during the early development of a child’s brain that either physical or sexual abuse (Garbarino & Collins 1999; DePanfilis, 2006).  Neglect is an overt act, while failure to protect knowingly allows another person to abuse or neglect a child without taking steps to stop or prevent the act from recurring (DePanfilis, 2006).  <Perpetrators of neglect and failure to protect are dysfunctional; they often display poor understanding of child development and have poor understanding of their basic responsibilities (Currie & Windom, 2010).  – I think I suggested you remove this from a previous draft.  It is really irrelevant here.> Often the perpetrators of neglect and failure to protect refuse to voluntarily take part in programs that support reduction in behaviors (DePanfilis, 2006). <<Due to the lack of compliance with individual or group treatment interventions parental rights may be lost due to <their – Indicate who this refers to grammatically within the sentence.> continued inability to reduce behaviors of neglect or failure to protect – Poor grammar. Rewrite.>>(Currie & Windom, 2010).

Treatment modalities for perpetrators need to be examined so tailored treatment can meet the specific needs and circumstances of perpetrators (Chaffin, 2006).  The problem with which this study was concerned is insight into the reduction of behaviors in perpetrators who neglect or fail to protect children by examining the effects of treatment.

Problem Statement

Current research about treatment for perpetrators who neglect or fail to protect a child show that there are fewer treatment options offered for neglect or failure to protect than for perpetrators who have sexually or physically abused a child (Chaffin, 2006).  When services are offered to perpetrators who neglect or fail to protect a child the services should give the perpetrator a better understanding and ability to cope with their parental responsibilities (Folkman & Lazarus, 1988). Currently the services offered may trigger an unproductive response to treatment (Folkman & Lazarus, 1988).   The development of a treatment modality that is successful would identify, measure, and develop healthy patterns for the perpetrator (Folkman & Lazarus, 1988).  If  there is a decrease in stressful emotions and negative behaviors that are modified when exposure to a multiple theory treatment then <exposing perpetrators – Unclear what is meant.  Clarity.> will result in increased positive behaviors. If so, and there is a reduction in the perpetrators behaviors clinicians could use this information to understand and treat the psychological factors that lead perpetrators to neglect or fail to protect a child.

Research Question

Can perpetrators who fail to protect and also neglect their children demonstrate a reduction <In what?  This is key.  If they answer a questionnaire, their score is not equivalent to a reduction of behaviors.> after experiencing group treatment that is focused on multiple group treatment modalities?

H1.There will be a statistically significant difference in coping strategies between individuals who participate in a behavior intervention group and a control group as measured by the scores on Ways of Coping Questionnaire (WOCQ), (Folkman and Lazarus, 1988), prior to a group experience immediately after the group experience ends and 12 weeks after the end of the group experience.  

Ho. There will be no statistically significant difference in coping strategies between participation in a multiple treatment group and a control group as measured by scores on the WOCQ immediately after the group experience ends and 12 weeks after the end of the group experience (Folkman & Lazarus, 1988).  

Purpose Statement

Researchers need to gain an understanding of the social and environmental barriers that prevent perpetrators for accessing treatment that will reduce their behaviors of neglect and failure to protect a child.  <The purpose of this quantitative study isto identify whether the reduction of behaviors by perpetrators who fail to protect or neglect their children can be achieved through the use of a multi modality treatment.  – Yes, but you are not measuring behavior.>  Many of the issues faced by perpetrators who neglect or fail to protect a child relate to the ability of the perpetrator to understand and change behaviors and coping strategies (Dufour, Lavergne, Larrivee, and Tocme 2008).    <Each perpetrator comes from different situations and family structures, using a multiple modality treatment should provide effective treatment for perpetrators who neglect or fail to protect a child (Dufour, Lavergne, Larrivee, and Tocme 2008).  – Omit>

Theoretical Framework

The theoretical constructs used in the study in order to gain insight about appropriate treatment methods used to eliminate behaviors of neglect and failure to protect come from social learning theory (SLT) in conjunction with cognitive behavioral theory (CBT).  SLT provides an explanation of how humans, who are social animals, learn to adapt or interact in a social environment by combining social learning, cognitive, and personality theories (Kihlstrom & Harackiewicz, 1990).

In order to gain insight about the learning process SLT focuses on observational learning, mental states, intrinsic reinforcement, and the modeling process (Bandura, 1977).  Observational learning is a three part process using either individual demonstration or acting out a behavior, it may entail a verbal instruction which describe or explains the behavior that is being acted out, and symbolic model which involves acting out or describing either a real or fictional characters behavior as seen in movies, books, or television (Bandura, 1977).  SLT combines intrinsic reinforcement as part of its treatment by using an internal reward system that reinforces pride, satisfaction, and a sense of accomplishment while supporting a connection between SLT and CBT (Casady & Lee, 2002; Polansky, 1978; Simon, 2002; Spinetta, 1978).  Through the use of SLT perpetrators will learn to build self-efficacy through intrinsic reinforcement.  Through observational learning new information and behaviors can be modeled giving the perpetrator new information that may decrease behaviors of neglect or failure to protect (Bandura, 1977). 

Bandura (1977) suggested that, even with consequences, individuals who react to stress or depression may become withdrawn but with proper interventions their symptoms would diminish.  The concept that people can learn through observation and intrinsic reinforcement are not the only factors that may reinforce pride, satisfaction, and a sense of accomplishment (Bandura, 1997, 1986, Erikson, 1968). – relate this to your study or omit.

CBT conceptualizes the way in which thoughts are processed, it affects the ability to grasp knowledge, remember it, apply what is learned, develop beliefs on it, reason and retain it (Beck, Rush, Shaw, Emery 1979).  In order to see changes in symptoms and schema (core beliefs) the origins of underlying beliefs must be discovered.  Beck et al. (1979) suggests that dysfunctional behavior is caused by dysfunctional thinking, and that our thinking is shaped by our beliefs.  It is beliefs that determine what action we will take in given situation (Beck et al. 1979).   With a better understanding of how thoughts and feelings influence behaviors there can be a reduction in behaviors of neglect and failure to protect.

Definitions of Terms

Caregiver:  This can be a child’s, grandparent, great grandparent, stepparent, brother, sister, step brother, step sister, half-sister or half brother or legal guardian or custodian a person who resides or has resided regularly or intermittently in the same dwelling as the child, an employee of a residential facility or residential care center for children and youth in which the child was or is placed or a person who provides or has provided care for the child in or outside the child’s home, or any other person who exercises or has exercised temporary or permanent control over the child or any relative of the child other than one listed above (Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2011) 

Child neglect:  The negligent treatment or the maltreatment of a child by a person responsible for the child’s welfare under circumstances indicating harm or threatened harm to the child’s health or welfare.  This includes both acts and omissions on the part of the responsible party (Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2011). 

Failure to protect:  An act or failure to act, including cumulative effects, on the part of a child’s parent, legal custodian, guardian, or caregiver that shows serious disregard of the consequences to the child, consisting of but not limited to, exposure to physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, or neglect from another person without intervention, of such magnitude that it creates a clear and present danger to the child’s health, welfare, and  safety  (Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2011).

Assumptions

It was assumed  that the perpetrators who will participate in this study will complete the questionnaires honestly and to the best of their ability.  It is assumed that the sample participants are representative of of the population of adjudicated perpetrators investigated for child neglect within the general demographic are of Mariposa, California.  In addition, it is assumed that the WOCQ is the appropriate assessment tool to measure the designated variable. 

Limitations

A limitation to this study is that adjudicated perpetrators will consist of primarily of Caucasian, low-income, men and women from the low-density demographic area of Mariposa, California and that the resultant data may not be related to data that would be obtained from other specific populations such as a high density urban population or areas that have other ethnic groups.

This study is limited by the fact that there are differences in the severity of neglect and the amount of time the perpetrator spent in treatment which may affect the way the survey questions were answered.   

Another limitation of this study is the use of convenience sampling which may impact the reliability and validity by limiting the ability to replicate the study.This study will look at the potential for positive social change by examining treatment outcomes when measured by test scores that may indicate that reductions in negative behaviors and recidivism of adult offenders who have neglected or failed to protect a child could occur.  <Effective treatment is important in supporting a decrease in both severity and incidents of failure to protect and child neglect (Casady & Lee, 2000).  Positive change can be seen as perpetrators are provided with interventions that support change in their behavior which will provide a nurturing environment for children giving them the ability to develop emotionally, psychologically, and cognitively, and lower the costs that can be incurred by state and county governments due to ineffective treatment models.   The results may reduce the cost of investigations, treatment, legal fees, foster-care, and Welfare payments, as well as, keep families stable.  – Omit.>  – Scores on a questionnaire are not equivalent to a behavioral measure. This this could realtre to behavior is not sufficient.  To use that, you need to demonstrate that studies have found direct relationships with behaviors, something I doubt that you will find.

Summary

Neglect or failure to protect a child is a problem that is invisible because the visible signs of abuse are not prevalent.  It is the invisible scars that are overlooked while research shows that neglect and failure to protect during the early development of a child’s brain is more damaging than either physical or sexual abuse (Garbarino & Collins, 1999; DePanfilis, 2006).      

There are fewer treatment options for perpetrators who neglect or fail to parotect than there are for perpetrators who have sexually or physically abused a child (Chaffin, 2006).  Treatment modalities for perpetrators need to be examined so tailored treatment can meet the specific needs of perpetrators who neglect or fail to protect children (Chaffin, 2006).  With the development of a treatment modality that is successful there is hope for a healthy pattern for perpetrators. 

This study may show that the population of adjudicated perpetrators investigated for child neglect was based on standardized substantiated criteria within the general demographic area of Mariposa California. There may be some limitations of the study by using a convenience sampling which may impact the reliability and validity limiting the ability to replicate the study at a later date. 

Chapter 2 will review the literature related to the study of neglect and failure to protect.  It will as well include the research that supports the framework and theory of neglect while looking at the background of neglect and failure to protect.  There will be further examination in chapter 2 of the impact of treatment length and treatment modalities on perpetrators of neglect and failure to protect. 

arrow_upward