Children and families in the care of child protection officers: characteristics, needs, services and policies
In 1989 legislation mandating the reporting legislation of suspected child abuse and neglect led to an extensive growth in the number of children in the care of Child Protection Officers in Israël. This survey of the needs and the services provided to these children in four cities indicates some directions for service development. Most children in the care of CPOs suffer from neglect (half are subjected to physical neglect) rather than from physical abuse. The children are from disadvantaged families and are characterized by problematic functioning. Many of the children exhibit types of behavior that indicate emotional distress and have problems in terms of school performance.
These findings point to the need for a type of intervention that extends beyond protection and includes measures aimed at alleviating the disadvantaging circumstances and providing support for the families. The article concludes by addressing the gaps between the children’s and families’ needs on the one hand and the nature of the services currently being provided on the other.