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A Need for Shared Expertise

Services for children with disabilities and their families include special education, health care, family support (including respite care), advocacy, vocational training, and independent living as children mature. Historically, these services have functioned separately from the child protective system, with little recognition by either about the vulnerability of children with disabilities for maltreatment. Key gaps include:

People with expertise in disabilities and cultural competency need to be included in identification, investigation, assessment and treatment of maltreatment through appointments to review committees, staff positions with assessment and treatment centers, and consulting on individual cases and on prevention programs. Programs serving children with disabilities and their families must become aware of the relationship between disabilities and maltreatment; address maltreatment of children with disabilities through prevention, intervention and advocacy; and develop cross-cultural competence.

Adapted with permission from Every Child Special – Every Child Safe: Protecting Children with Disabilities From Maltreatment – A Call to Action (2000). By G.L. Krahn, et al., Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland, pages 33-34, 36. Retrieved 1/3/06 from


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Retrieved from the Web site of the Institute on Community Integration, University of Minnesota ( Citation: Gaylord, V., LaLiberte, T., Lightfoot, E. & Hewitt, A. (Eds.). (2006). Impact: Feature Issue on Children with Disabilities in the Child Welfare System 19(1). [Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, Institute on Community Integration.]

The PDF version of this Impact, with photos and graphics, is also online at

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