NAPNAP Revises Position Statement on Child Maltreatment

For Immediate Release
Justin T. Worsley
917-746-8299 * jworsley@napnap.org

NAPNAP Revises Position Statement on Child Maltreatment
Revision includes updates statistics, advocacy for child mental health services.

NEW YORK Oct. 6, 2016 – The National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) has revised its position statement on child maltreatment. This statement was published in the September/October edition of the Journal for Pediatric Health Care.

While statistics showed an overall decrease in maltreatment since the position statement was revised in 2011, the U.S Department of Health and Human Services reported increases in the percentages of child victims who suffered from neglect or who were physically abused. The HHS reported that in 82 percent of the incidents, the child was abused by his/her parent. HHS estimated that 702,000 children were victims of maltreatment in 2014, a rate of 9.4 per 1,000. The position statement updates statistics on child maltreatment, which encompasses neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and medical child abuse, in the U.S.

“While we are happy to see fewer cases of child maltreatment across the U.S., even a single case is one too many,” said NAPNAP President Laura Searcy, MN, APRN, PPCNP-BC. “Because child maltreatment is associated with a broad array of physical and mental health problems, including eating and sleeping disorders, developmental delays, psychosomatic disorders, substance abuse, depression, violent behavior and many other illnesses, we must continue to vigorously advocate for children at risk by screening to identify problems early and intervene with proper treatment.”

In the position statement, NAPNAP affirms to 10 points in combatting child maltreatment, including: supporting efforts for the prevention of maltreatment; supporting efforts to decrease violence in the media, the internet, the family and society; and supporting increased funding for further maltreatment research studies.

Additionally, NAPNAP encourages all pediatric academic programs to include comprehensive education in the area of child maltreatment. 

“Research says certain factors such as increased violence in the media and society, poverty and financial strain, unrealistic developmental expectations of parents, parental stress and domestic violence put children at greater risk for maltreatment. It’s important for pediatric-focused advanced-practice registered nurses (APRNs) to routinely check on the mental well-being of children and their parents and knowledgably act on any signs of maltreatment,” said Searcy.

NAPNAP maintains that pediatric-focused APRNs are in a strategic position to assess for the presence of risk and protective factors because studies indicate they spend considerable time with patients. They provide primary prevention interventions and should be recognized as integral members of the child protection team.

The entire position statement can be read at jpedhc.org.

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The National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) is the nation’s only professional association for pediatric-focused advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) dedicated to improving the quality of health care for infants, children, adolescents and young adults. Representing more than 8,500 healthcare practitioners with 18 special interest groups and 50 chapters, NAPNAP has been advocating for children’s health since 1973 and was the first APRN society in the U.S. Our mission is to empower pediatric-focused APRNs and their interprofessional partners to enhance child and family health through leadership, advocacy, professional practice, education and research. www.NAPNAP.org