Current pediatrics and social-work textbooks generally include chapters on child abuse that describe the epidemiology, clinical manifestations, differential diagnosis, and treatment of abused children. They usually discuss the legal requirement to notify state child-protection agencies of suspected abuse, and may describe the investigations such reports trigger. It is accepted by most pediatricians, social workers, and laymen that investigations may result in legal actions against parents and other responsible adults. Children may be removed from their homes. Parents may have their custodial rights terminated, and may face criminal charges. The entire process of diagnosis and intervention for child abuse is presented as both necessary and morally compelling.
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