In Utah, James Ryan Hadlock pleaded guilty to two counts of misdemeanor child abuse. He will spend the remainder of 100 days in jail for causing his foster son to suffer a severe brain injury by throwing him up in the air and letting him fall approximately nine feet onto the floor. The infant boy was one years old at the time of the brain injury. Physicians found evidence of past trauma at the time of the head injury. The boy is now three-years old and suffers from developmental delays.
If a caregiver throws or forcefully places an infant on a surface after shaking the baby for a few seconds, there may be evidence of blunt trauma from sudden deceleration and impact of the head against a surface. If the child survives the injuries, the symptoms may change over the course of several years from the assault. As the child grows and develops to the ages where higher functioning skills are expected, the true measure of the disabilities the child experiences will become evident. Despite careful management of severe brain injury, the road to recovery may be difficult with no possibility of returning to the child’s pre-injury neurological state or normal function.
Not all caregivers are ethical or emotionally well adjusted. Not all caregivers care for infants and children in an appropriate manner. In foster care homes, the very homes that are suppose to protect abused children, intentional, or non-intentional, abusive activity may be taking place. Adults with the following risk factors are more likely to abuse their infants and children and cause injury; poor coping skills, unrealistic expectations, substance abuse, former victims of child abuse, mental health problems, social isolation, socio-economically depressed, impoverished and families that suffer with domestic violence issues. Non-biological parents are at increased risk for committing abusive acts.