In Vermont, Taryn O’Connor faces child abuse charges for injuries sustained by a toddler while under her care. Health providers at Fletcher Allen Hospital notified Chittenden Unit for Special Investigations (CUSI) on Thursday, November 6th while the toddler underwent emergency brain surgery for head trauma. The investigation is ongoing and involves the Vermont Department of Children and Families and CUSI. The child is in critical condition. So far the investigation has revealed the child’s injuries are non-accidental.
Children under the age of three years old are the most likely victims of abuse, because the toddler stage is a very trying time for caregivers. Caregivers with unrealistic expectations and poor coping skills are most at risk for engaging in abusive behavior. Physical abuse is the most overt form of abuse. Physical abuse can result in brain injury, fractured bones, soft tissue injuries, bruises, cuts and burns. Injury to the genital region is indicative of sexual abuse. Neglect of a child is an act of omission or failure to meet the child’s needs, such as poor nutrition, severe malnutrition, failure to thrive and lack of medical attention. Poor hygiene or unsanitary conditions may result in skin infection and injury. Moral neglect exists when parents or caregivers allow a child to remain in environments with immoral conditions. The long term affects of child abuse include developmental arrest in developing basic trust and self worth into adulthood.