Understanding Child Maltreatment: A Psychosocial Approach

Date: Thursday, August 7, 2014

Course #: W766

Time: 9 a.m. - Noon

Cost: $90

Credit Available: 0.5 CEUs; 5 SWCEUs; Approval pending by Illinois Early Intervention Training Program


Most early intervention and social service professionals who work with children and families do so with the goals of supporting and encouraging healthy attachment, development, and growth.  What we often aren’t prepared to respond to is when we have concerns about child abuse.  Statistics show that 1 in 56 children in the United States are victims of child abuse at some point in their lives. Additionally, infants and young children have the highest incidence rates of physical abuse and the highest mortality rates due to abuse.

Child abuse impacts infants and young children in many different forms, including physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, and sexual abuse. Each type of abuse is rooted in the psychosocial landscape of the child’s family.  As a professional, it is often a struggle to know how to assess and intervene when you have concerns about a parent or child’s behavior or presentation. A part of this struggle is related feeling uncomfortable about how to raise a concern of child maltreatment or consider making a report to protective services.  We often fear that our assessment is incorrect or worry that we will permanently damage our relationship with the family we are working with.

This three-hour training will provide social work professionals with a solid psychosocial context for all presentations of child maltreatment in infants and young children. The training will also leave the participant with a clear framework of how to integrate anticipatory guidance and child abuse prevention tools into your professional practice.

Key Topics Covered Include:

  • Understanding psychosocial “storm fronts” that impact child maltreatment and incidence rates in infants and young children
  • Understanding what early childhood behaviors put children at the most risk of child maltreatment
  • How to integrate developmentally informed child abuse prevention information into your work with families
  • Identifying behaviors, statements, and injuries that require notification of DCFS/police
  • Understanding your role in navigating the child welfare system


Melinda Gronen, M.A., LCSW

Melinda Gronen, M.A., LCSW, is currently the social work clinical coordinator for the protective services team (PST) at the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. Melinda received her Master of Arts degree in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago in 2000.
Melinda has worked in child welfare for the past fifteen years in a variety of settings, including foster care, residential treatment, and school based mental health. At Lurie Children’s Hospital since 2003, Melinda works, trains, and supervises staff in the areas child maltreatment assessment and intervention, provides clinical supervision to a post graduate social work fellow in child protection, and provides psychiatry intake and assessment for children who have been victims of sexual abuse and trauma. Melinda also provides training, consulting, and program development to community organizations.

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