Ethics in Child Health – Chapter 18: The obligation to report child abuse/neglect is more complex than it seems (ebook)


Chapter 18 of the book – The obligation to report child abuse/neglect is more complex than it seems

In most jurisdictions, professionals who work in child health have a legal responsibility to report suspected child abuse. This mandate can abut against the advocacy roles we fulfi in working with families of children with neurodisabilities as we lean towards ‘tolerating’ and ‘understanding’ parental behaviors or attitudes that would not otherwise be considered acceptable. We may also believe that by reporting a family to child welfare authorities we risk doing more harm than good for the child and family. In this chapter, Lach and Birnbaum address this issue in the context of social work teaching and practice, with discipline-specifi frameworks and principles. Similar themes are identifi in Chapter 9, though the language may be somewhat different.

About the complete book

Have you ever:

  • Wondered how to deal with a family that repeatedly fails to keep clinic appointments?
  • Disagreed with colleagues over a proposed course of treatment for a child?
  • Considered ways to ‘bump’ a child on a waiting to speed up their assessment?

These are a few of the scenarios faced by clinicians in neurodisability on a daily basis. Ethics in Child Health explores the ethical dimensions of these issues that have either been ignored or not recognised. Each chapter is built around a scenario familiar to clinicians and is discussed with respect to how ethical principles can be utilised to inform decision-making. Useful ‘Themes for Discussion’ are provided at the end of each chapter to help professionals and students develop practical ethical thinking. Ethics in Child Health offers a set of principles that clinicians, social workers and policy-makers can utilise in their respective spheres of influence.


Readership: clinicians and paediatricians in neurodisability, service providers in neurodisability, community-based health professionals,  and health policy makers.

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