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140919EPA childabuse-smThe cost of abuse to a child lasts a lifetime, for individuals and our country as a whole.

In a study of 17,000 adults, those abused as children were more likely to become suicidal and have heart disease, cancer, chronic lung disease and liver disease; twice as likely to be smokers, severely obese and to become alcoholics; and three times as likely to develop a drug addiction.

Of children abused, 22 percent have learning disorders requiring special education, and 27 percent become delinquents, compared with 17 percent of children in the general population.

In 2007, Stanford University researchers found that children suffering post-traumatic stress disorder and exposure to severe trauma actually have smaller brains. Severe trauma includes parental homicide, sexual assault, sexual abuse, school shootings and ongoing community violence. Researchers found a nearly 9 percent reduction in the size of the hippocampus, a horseshoe-shaped sheet of neurons that controls memory and emotions.

A study conducted in 2009 showed an increased risk of sexually transmitted diseases in childhood abuse or neglect survivors tracked over time. In the same year, another study found, beyond the mental health impacts, childhood maltreatment reduces immune function, an effect that can linger long after the maltreatment has ended.

The cost to our country is approximately $124 billion annually, according to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the estimated average lifetime cost per victim of nonfatal child maltreatment is approximately $210,000, in 2010 dollars.

That includes
  • $32,648 childhood health care
  • $10,530 adult medical care
  • $144,360 productivity losses
  • $7,728 child welfare
  • $6,747 criminal justice
  • $7,999 special education

Prevention of child abuse and neglect requires public education and a commitment from communities to provide emotional, social and financial support systems for families.

Research shows that investing in child abuse prevention programs yields a 19 to 1 savings over the long-term costs to society of child abuse. These programs include parent education classes, safety programs designed to make children less vulnerable targets for abuse and home visitation.

If your child is a victim of child abuse, or you need help as a parent, reach out to the Relief Nursery, a local non-profit committed to strengthening families and keeping our children safe.

Posted by on in News

140701 EPABlogImageThrive1A traditional pediatric practice helps lots of kids, but I am convinced it barely scratches the surface of what many children need. The physical health of a child is only a portion of wellness. The other key aspect is mental and behavioral/developmental health.

Eugene-Springfield has many wonderful mental and behavioral health caregivers and agencies for kids, but coordinating care with pediatricians is always a challenge. After nearly 15 years in practice here, I became frustrated with the limitations in my traditional practice to meet the needs of the children we serve.

So, one sunny autumn afternoon last year, I asked my favorite child psychologist, Dr. Jenny Mauro, to have coffee and talk about the exciting possibilities of pediatricians working side by side with child psychologists, developmental pediatricians and child psychiatrists.

If that happened, I could step out of my exam room and grab a specialist in child mental health and development to get a “curbside consult.” My families could meet a behavioral health care provider for a momentary “hello” and know whom they would meet during an upcoming visit. And scheduling the behavioral health visit at the same location would be a breeze.

Coordination of care would be so easy and even fun. Brown bag lunches with my doctors sitting around the same table with psychologists and other behavioral specialists would make it easy to discuss children in need of our team approach.

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