• September 2018
  • Vol. 19, No. 7

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Practice Guidelines for Investigating Suspected Psychological Maltreatment

The American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, in partnership with The New York Foundling, produced a set of practice guidelines for child welfare professionals to use when investigating and determining whether there was psychological maltreatment (PM) of children and adolescents. PM can also be known as mental, emotional, or psychological abuse and neglect. The exact definition of this type of abuse is different in every state but includes not meeting a child's vital need to feel safe, loved, and respected as a valued individual. Frontline child welfare professionals can use the information and tools in this packet to gain a clearer understanding of what PM is, how to detect it and determine the nature and severity of it, and how it relates to other forms of maltreatment.

This resource includes definitions and explanations of the different forms of PM; information on its prevalence, effects, and risk factors; considerations of PM in investigations; and how to assess and determine PM. It also includes three worksheets that allow frontline child welfare professionals to organize evidence by subtype and record evidence of risk factors and harm to the child.

A companion monograph that provides a more indepth look at the PM guidelines, including case examples, strategies, and guidance for case- and system-wide interventions, among other things, is also available.

The Investigation and Determination of Suspected Psychological Maltreatment of Children and Adolescents is available at https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/4700a8_00c9fcfe4997493cbdad67b8af8f7d8c.pdf (1,200 KB).

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