Academic journal article Child Welfare

From the Editor: The Legend of Mary Ellen Wilson and Etta Wheeler: Child Maltreatment and Protection Today

Academic journal article Child Welfare

From the Editor: The Legend of Mary Ellen Wilson and Etta Wheeler: Child Maltreatment and Protection Today

Article excerpt

The founding of the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children in 1874 signaled the beginning of this broader concept of societal intervention on behalf of maltreated children. The Society was established in the wake of the notorious case of "Little Mary Ellen" (see http://wn.com/out_of_the_darkness_the_story_of_mary _ellen_wilson). Mary Ellen Wilson (1864-1956) was an eight-year-old New York City girl whose case of child abuse by her foster parents, Francis and Mary Connolly, led a friendly visitor, Etta Wheeler (who is often forgotten in this story-and who was, in fact, a social work hero), to seek help, unsuccessfully, from several child welfare institutions. When Wheeler saw evidence of physical abuse, malnutrition, and neglect in Mary Ellen's condition, she began to research legal options to redress and protect the young girl. Determined to do something about the abuse which she saw, Wheeler turned to Henry Bergh, president of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, who promptly brought the case to court, requesting that the child be removed from her caregiver immediately. Students in my child welfare classes are always shocked to hear that there was protection for cruelty against animals before there was equal protection for children in this country.

Today, child maltreatment remains the leading reason that children come to the attention of child welfare services. Approximately 3.4 million reports of child maltreatment were made in 2011. The victimization rate for FFY 2011 was 9.1 per 1,000 children, and of those 676,569 substantiated victims, an estimated 1,570 children died from abuse and neglect during that same year.

Guest editors Pécora, Chahine, Sanders, and Wilson have done a wonderful job of soliciting and editing 12 articles that approach a wide range of issues from many of the leading experts in the child maltreatment field. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.