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Spring 1998 Table of Contents
Versión Español de este artículo (Spanish Version)

Support for Families of "Shaken Baby Syndrome" Children

submitted by Bonnie Armstrong, Ft. Worth, TX

Every year an estimated one- to three-thousand children are diagnosed with Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS), a serious brain injury that occurs when a frustrated caregiver vigorously shakes a child, usually to stop them from crying. Victims are mostly under the age of one, but SBS has been diagnosed in children as old as five. Twenty-five to thirty percent of SBS victims die, while survivors suffer varying degrees of mental retardation, cerebral palsy, seizures, blindness, deafness, and learning/behavioral problems.

For the families of SBS, the death or severe injury of a child due to such a violent form of child abuse is devastating and affects the entire extended family. Rage, guilt, sadness, loneliness, and isolation are just a few of the emotions experienced by these families. The families of SBS victims are also faced with the burden of tremendous medical costs, a criminal justice system that often does not punish the perpetrators of this horrible crime, and unknowing professionals that further "victimize" them. Support and information for these families as well as professionals trying to help them have been virtually nonexistent.

Recognizing a real need for SBS support and information, The SBS Alliance was formed by Kim Kang after her daughter was shaken by a licensed child care provider. Kim formed The SBS Alliance to provide support and information for families affected by SBS. In addition, the SBS Alliance provides information and referral services for professionals working with families of shaken babies. Members can receive support and information via telephone, mail, SBS Electronic Mail List, and The SBS Alliance website.

Mothers, fathers, grandparents, concerned family members and foster parents in addition to professionals in the medical, legal, social services, and educational fields have joined The SBS Alliance Mail List and The SBS Alliance to promote a community effort in the battle against SBS.

The SBS Alliance is currently forming support groups to give families face-to-face support. A list of resources is also available for families to help them find the needed medical care, rehabilitative therapy, and other related information. For families of deceased children, The SBS Alliance has a data base of families who have also lost a child to SBS. These families offer tremendous support to each other.

For those with electronic mail access who would like to subscribe to The SBS Alliance Mail List sponsored by St. John's University, contact Kim Kang, Internet Relations Coordinator through email at <kkang@dallas.net>. Families and professionals may access The SBS Alliance website at the following URL: <http://rdz.stjohns.edu/lists/sbs/sbsalliance>.

If your family has been affected by Shaken Baby Syndrome, or you are a professional needing information and/or support, please contact: Bonnie Armstrong, Support Coordinator at (817) 444-9357 or email to <a0003903@airmail.net> or Kim Kang at (972) 422-9872 or email to <kkang@dallas.net>.

The Second Annual Conference on SBS: Medical, Investigative, Legal Intervention, & Crime Prevention Challenges will be held September 13-15, 1998 in Salt Lake City, UT. If you would like more information about this conference contact: The Child Abuse Prevention Center, 2955 Harrison Boulevard, Suite 102, Ogden, UT 84403 or phone at (801) 393-3366 (voice) or (888) 273-0071 (toll-free) or email to <capcente@ix.netcom.com>.

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