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Children who are being Abused Should be Removed from their Parents

All children deserve to be able to feel safe. When they are unsafe at home, this can lead to a lifetime of cPTSD or other issues. If parents aren't caring for their children at home, there need to be higher levels of social intervention.

Child abuse is an even greater issue for LGBTQ+ youth, compared to their heterosexual counterparts. Since it is Pride month, it is important to raise awareness of the issues that these youth are facing when they come out with their families.

A new study led by researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Vanderbilt University found that 83% of lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer (LGBQ) individuals reported going through adverse childhood experiences (ACE) such as sexual and emotional abuse, and worse mental health as adults when compared to their heterosexual peers.

Since many LGBTQ+ children and teens feel unsafe at home, many of them can end up homeless as well.

Up to 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ, while the general youth population is only 10% LGBTQ.

Experiencing child abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and becoming homeless are horrible experiences for a child to go through. When a child is suffering at the hands of a caregiver, they don't have a feeling of safety that every child deserves, and they can end up with problems that will last a lifetime.

As someone who went through child abuse myself, this is an issue that I have given a great deal of thought. Many children don't come forward to report that they are being abused out of fear. They think that other adults will be on the same side as their parent or caregiver, instead of on their side. They may come to have a sense of distrust of all adults because of this. I know as a teen I did.

Child abuse is unfortunately all too common. According to the CDC, 1 in 7 American children is abused on a yearly basis.

When a child suffers abuse or another trauma, this can effect their normal development in many ways.

According to the National Childhood Traumatic Stress Network, children who are exposed to trauma at a young age may experience the following symptoms:

  • Demonstrate poor verbal skills

  • Exhibit memory problems

  • Scream or cry excessively

  • Have poor appetite, low weight, or digestive problems

  • Have difficulties focusing or learning in school

  • Develop learning disabilities

  • Show poor skill development

  • Act out in social situations

  • Imitate the abusive/traumatic event

  • Be verbally abusive

  • Be unable to trust others or make friends

  • Believe they are to blame for the traumatic event

  • Lack self-confidence

  • Experience stomach aches or headaches

When a child experiences a trauma, it can also lead to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (cPTSD) as an adult. This means, that they will always have symptoms as a result of the trauma that they have endured in childhood. No child should have to endure a lifetime of mental health issues because of their parents.

Most of the time, children reported to CPS are not removed from their homes.

Although this happens because CPS is trying to work to keep families together, I believe that this can be harmful to children in the long run. Many people who abuse their children are not going to change their behaviors, even with extensive interventions. Parents may be subject to visits from CPS, or required to take a parenting class. But is this enough? Will the parents change?

A lack of foster care may also contribute to the problem. There is a shortage of homes for placement in the foster community, so this can be another reason why children aren't removed from abusive homes. Children may also be put into group homes if they are removed from their families. However, the goal with foster care is to be able to reunite a child with their family.

As a society, we need to take violence against children more seriously, and to realize just how prevalent this issue actually is. Abuse and neglect can be scarring for children who experience this, and not enough is being done to protect them.

School personnel are mandated reporters for child abuse, but many times children won't display any signs of violence at school, and may be afraid to tell a teacher that they are being abused at home.

So, what can you do to help with this problem? According to Prevent Child Abuse, you can:

  1. Be a nurturing parent. Children need to know that they are special, loved, and capable of following their dreams.

  2. Help a friend, neighbor, or relative. Being a parent isn’t easy. Offer a helping hand take care of the children, so the parent(s) can rest or spend time together.

  3. Help yourself. When the big and little problems of your everyday life pile up to the point you feel overwhelmed and out of control—take time out. Don’t take it out on your kid.

  4. If your baby cries… It can be frustrating to hear your baby cry. Learn what to do if your baby won’t stop crying. Never shake a baby—shaking a child may result in severe injury or death.

  5. Get involved. Ask your community leaders, clergy, library, and schools to develop services to meet the needs of healthy children and families.

  6. Help to develop parenting resources at your local library. Find out whether your local library has parenting resources, and if it does not, offer to help obtain some.

  7. Promote programs in school. Teaching children, parents, and teachers prevention strategies can help to keep children safe.

  8. Monitor your child’s television, video, and internet viewing/usage. Excessively watching violent films, TV programs, and videos can harm young children.

  9. Volunteer at a local child abuse prevention program. For information about volunteer opportunities, call 1.800.CHILDREN or contact your local Prevent Child Abuse America chapter.

  10. Report suspected abuse or neglect. If you have reason to believe a child has been or may be harmed, call your local department of children and family services or your local police department.

Providing parent education and resources can help to prevent child abuse. Since there is a greater risk of child abuse in families in poverty due to the stress, we can also help by trying to eradicate poverty in society so that people aren't enduring a chronic stress that causes them to lash out at their children.

Programs like Head Start offer parent classes to low income families, so that parents will be better equipped with parenting skills to be good parents. This type of program is sometimes offered in schools as well, and can be a helpful preventative measure against child abuse and neglect.

As adult survivors of child abuse, we can raise awareness of the issues that children are currently facing, and use our voices to uplift these issues to greater importance in society. Children facing these issues often feel voiceless, and as adults, we can speak up for their rights and experiences.

There are many organizations that work to prevent child abuse, and volunteering and becoming involved can help children that are in abusive situations. Our most vulnerable children deserve to have their rights taken seriously, and child abuse needs more vocal advocates across all walks of life.

If you know someone who is in trouble or needs assistance, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453).


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