Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Economy and Shaken Baby Syndrome: Massachusetts

From the Boston Globe and WPRI in Providence, one more report that economic stresses are increasing the need for SBS prevention efforts... Link - Illinois ; Link - New York

Shaken baby syndrome cases rising
Economic stress on parents could be to blame
Bruce Morin Published : Thursday, 19 Mar 2009, 7:41 AM EDT

WPRI) - In Massachusetts, shaken baby syndrome cases are on the rise. Experts feel that economic stress on parents could be to be blame.
In the last three months, Children's Hospital Boston and Massachusetts General Hospital have seen nine infants with shaken baby syndrome. According to the Boston Globe, there were only four cases in the same period last year.
Research has linked increased economic stress within families to increased child abuse. Dr. Alice Newton, medical director of Children's protection team says that in the recent cases, parents had either been laid off or faced other financial hardships.

The Globe reports on concerns that funding for the SBS prevention initiative in Massachusetts may be at risk:

The [Children's Trust Fund] plans to brief legislators today on the latest figures and on its prevention efforts.

There is some concern, Bartley said, that the program might not continue to receive its annual $350,000 allocation because the money is no longer listed separately in the state budget.

Broader public education about how to avoid shaken baby syndrome is still badly needed, said Alison Goodwin, spokeswoman for the Department of Children and Families, because it can be very hard to predict which infants are most at risk. She said the majority of cases do not involve clients of the agency, which works with families that have been the subject of previous abuse or neglect reports.

Parents who are "at risk" may need more education and parenting support resources, but sustained funding is needed for education that offers every new parent the opportunity to learn how they can help protect their child from injury.

New parents are "born" every day, and they need to learn good parenting skills, just like they learned reading, writing and arithmetic. Once a child learns to read, schools don't stop teaching reading, do they?....

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