Course Summary

Practice Level: Advanced

Child maltreatment represents a serious public health concern that imposes a range of deleterious consequences for victims’ mental and physical health across the lifespan. Approximately 3.5 million U.S. children were the subject of a child maltreatment investigation in 2018 and approximately 678,000 of those case investigations were founded (i.e., supported) for maltreatment. These rates represent a steady incline from past years, indicating a failure of systems and providers to both address and prevent this issue (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau, 2020). Mental health, human services, and healthcare providers are the frontline forces for preventing, recognizing, and treating child maltreatment. It is therefore critical that service providers are able to define, identify, assess, and treat child abuse and neglect, with the ultimate aim of preventing such abuses and protecting youth. The course will define child maltreatment according to federal, state civil and state criminal definitions. Providers will learn other empirical and academic definitions of child maltreatment, including the differences among these terms (e.g., corporal punishment versus abuse). The learning material addresses culture, context, and environment in addition to other special considerations. The learning material includes international, national, and state level information on child maltreatment prevalence.

Course Format

This course contains downloadable online lessons (PDF) and a practice test. When you’re ready, purchase the course by clicking the “Add To Cart” or “Enroll” button. This will let you take the test, complete the course evaluation and receive your certificate for CE credits.

Learning Objectives

  • Define child abuse and neglect.
  • Recognize risk factors, signs, and symptoms of child maltreatment
  • Identify laws that address child abuse and neglect.
  • Explain adverse childhood experiences and psychiatric manifestations of child abuse and neglect.
  • Differentiate between corporal punishment and child abuse.
  • Describe the significance of culture, context, and environment in child abuse and neglect.
  • Explain special considerations in abuse and neglect for children with disabilities, sex trafficking, and/or infant prenatal exposure to substances.
  • Describe the prevalence of child abuse.
  • Explain the effects of the pandemic on the assessment and reporting of child abuse and neglect.

Course Syllabus

  • Introduction
  • Child Maltreatment Definitions
  • Risk Factors, Signs and Symptoms for Child Maltreatment
  • Federal Definitions of Child Maltreatment
  • State Civil and Criminal Laws
  • Empirical and Academic Definitions of Child Maltreatment
  • Culture, Context, and Environment
  • Special Considerations
  • International Prevalence of Child Maltreatment
  • Prevalence of Child Maltreatment in the United States
  • Summary
  • References


Teresa Crowe, PhD, LICSW

Teresa Crowe, PhD, LICSW is a licensed clinical social worker in the District of Columbia and Maryland. She is a professor of social work at Gallaudet University and teaches practice, theory, and research in the MSW program. Her recent research focuses on deaf and hard of hearing populations, especially in the areas of behavioral health, intimate partner violence, telemental health, well-being, and help-seeking.

Accreditation Approval Statements is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. maintains responsibility for this program and its content., provider #1115, is approved as an ACE provider to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Regulatory boards are the final authority on courses accepted for continuing education credit. ACE provider approval period: 08/08/21-08/08/24. Social workers completing this course receive 3 clinical continuing education credits. has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6991. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs. We are committed to providing our learners with unbiased information. CE4Less never accepts commercial support and our authors have no significant financial or other conflicts of interest pertaining to the material.

Courses have been approved by, as a NAADAC Approved Education Provider, for educational credits. NAADAC Provider #91345 is responsible for all aspects of the programming.

We are committed to providing our learners with unbiased information. CE4Less never accepts commercial support and our authors have no significant financial or other conflicts of interest pertaining to the material.

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