By Murray Chanow, Senior Vice President of Strategy and Community Engagement
Upbring has released its seventh white paper in a series that shares ideas from top child abuse researchers around the country on how to protect Texas children. As Dee Wilson, MSW, the author of this white paper points out – for decades there was a relative lack of interest in the study of the intergenerational transmission of neglect. However, in recent years more research has surfaced which sheds new light on intergenerational transmission of both abuse and neglect.
Wilson reviews recent findings from research on neglect, such as:
- Neglect is more likely to be transmitted from one generation to the next than physical abuse.
- A history of physical abuse in childhood is more likely to lead to neglectful parenting than abusive parenting.
- Experiencing multiple types of maltreatment in childhood greatly increases the risk of intergenerational transmission of neglect.
- Social supports and positive early bonds can moderate the intergenerational transmission of neglect.
The author also examines the research underlying these findings and discusses possible hypotheses for their causal mechanisms.
This white paper series is part of Upbring’s renewed focus on breaking the cycle of child abuse through excellence in services, advocacy and thought leadership. Upbring’s mission is to break the cycle of child abuse by empowering children family and communities. Together with its strategic partners, Upbring is developing a continuum of services that will build protective factors in health, education, safety, life skills and vocation for Texas children.
In this paper, the author discusses possible ways to stop the intergenerational transmission of neglect, such as providing health services, with a focus on mental health screening and trauma-informed care. The author also calls out the need for better education to ensure future vocational success, supporting life skills including social bonding skills, as well as safety by preventing child homelessness and food insecurity.
Lastly, Wilson calls for more supportive programs for youth aging out of foster care. Upbring’s BeREAL program was designed exactly for this purpose. BeREAL helps youth successfully transition to self-sufficiency and independence by providing supervised independent living, education planning and mentorship as they age out of care.
I am encouraged and excited to learn that there is a renewed interest in research and developing solutions that will lead to breaking the cycle of abuse and neglect. As we continue forward in our efforts, we invite others to submit research and ideas to help with this important issue.