Child Neglect: The Role of School Counselors

Child Neglect: The Role of School Counselors

Stephen Oluwaseun Emmanuel (Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo, Nigeria)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 27
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-0319-5.ch007

Abstract

This chapter provides a groundwork for school counselors. It amplifies their roles and responsibilities to neglected children and also discusses the issues that should be considered in the assessment and treatment of neglected children and their families. The chapter provides professional guides to therapists who specialize in the treatment of neglected children and school counselors who meet with the neglected children occasionally. The methodology adopted for the assessment and treatment of neglect in this chapter is child-centered, family-focused, and culturally receptive. The author posits that dealing with child neglect will be more effective when school counselors leave the four walls of the school to provide support for neglect children and thus integrating them into the school system.
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Introduction

Even though child neglect has been reported as the most common type of maltreatment, its causes, effects, prevention, and treatment are not as explored and discussed frequently compared to physical or sexual abuse. Most sadly, counselors who are better equipped to tackle this menace are usually not recognized in discourses that centers on addressing child neglect. It is against this challenge that this chapter is presented. Child neglect is a form of child maltreatment that covers a range of behaviors which include educational, supervisory, administrative, physical, medical, emotional neglect, and abandonment, often convoluted by cultural and contextual factors. Children who are victims of child neglect suffer physical, psychological and emotional abuse. Neglect is seen as a form of negligence from parents, guardians and the government. Child neglect is a social problem, that requires the intervention of school guidance counselors in assisting the affected students. However, this chapter extends the list to the abysmal societal neglect of children who are supposed to be cared for. Children who suffer child neglect are also predisposed to child abuse because it has been observed that a parent who exhibits neglecting behavior can also be abusive at the same time. This chapter looks into child neglect and its attendant effect on school-age children. The age group consists of children from infancy to eighteen.

Child neglect is avoidable and treatable, and as such if the recommendations put forward in this chapter are put to use by school guidance counselors and other mental health professionals the current problem will be put at bay. The objectives of this chapter are to: provide an understanding into the concept, forms, and factors that contribute to child neglect, provide a guide for the assessment of child neglect and most importantly, offer intervention strategies to put the problem at bay.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Parent/Caretaker: A person whose responsibility is to care for the child.

Treatment: The therapeutic stage whereby particular treatment services targeted towards the reduction of risk of maltreatment are provided by school counselors or mental health professionals.

Cultural Competence: A set of attitudes, behaviors, and policies that helps school counselors in working with students from different cultures and ethnic groups to implement strategies to achieve their educational goals.

Group Counselling: A counseling session where a group of clients with similar issues or concerns meet with one or more counselors/therapists, to discuss those concerns, learn about and share information and solutions about those concerns.

School Counselors: A professional trained in counseling who works in elementary and middle schools and secondary schools who provide academic, career, social-emotional competencies to students through a school counseling program.

Individual Counselling: A one on one counseling session between a school counselor and a client.

Symptoms: Emotional or behavioral responses to the presence of neglect.

Child Neglect: The failure to provide for the basic needs of a child. It could be physical, educational, emotional/psychological, medical or environmental.

Child Abuse: Failure to act on the part of a parent or caregiver which may lead to an impending danger such as; physical severe or emotional harm, sexual abuse or death.

Support Systems: Individuals such as family, friends, and professionals (counselors, social worker or members of the same group counseling) who are quick to respond and are ready to lend a hand to the neglected child.

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