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Update on child maltreatment

Newton, Alice Wa; Vandeven, Andrea Mb

Current Opinion in Pediatrics: April 2007 - Volume 19 - Issue 2 - p 223–229
doi: 10.1097/MOP.0b013e32809f9543
Office Pediatrics
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Purpose of review Recent literature regarding assessment, management and prevention of child maltreatment will be considered. Unexplained infant and child death will also be reviewed.

Recent findings Controversies in the evaluation of unexpected infant death and inflicted traumatic brain injury are ongoing. Evidence continues to accumulate describing the serious long-term sequelae of child maltreatment. Studies have examined the earliest beginnings of these adverse outcomes commencing in childhood. Despite sustained efforts to develop a variety of training and intervention programs, the deployment of these efforts has been hampered by the lack of evidence that they make any difference in improving recognition of child abuse or in preventing recurrent maltreatment. There is a great need in the child abuse field for more formal, rigorous assessment of all manner of intervention programs.

Summary Efforts to improve the recognition of and management of child abuse need to be sustained. As our understanding of child maltreatment continues to grow, evidence-based interventions will likely improve outcomes for abused children and their families. General pediatricians are often the first to notice signs and symptoms of possible child maltreatment; collaboration with hospital-based Child Protection Teams is critical when considering the possibility of abuse or neglect.

aDepartment of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Child Protection Program, Children's Hospital Boston, Child Protection Program, Massachusetts General Hospital, USA

bDivision of General Pediatrics, Children's Hospital Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Correspondence to Alice W. Newton, MD, FAAP, Child Protection Program, Children's Hospital, 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA Tel: +1 617 355 7979; fax: +1 616 730 0492; e-mail: alice.newton@childrens.harvard.edu

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.