Neglect and the Ecosystem of Abuse, with Paul DiLorenzo

Season 3Episode 3February 18, 2021

Paul DiLorenzo asks how we might interrupt the cycle of generational abuse by stopping the cycle of chronic neglect—and what prevents us from doing this right now?

Paul DiLorenzo has worked in every aspect of the child welfare system over the past 40 years—as a writer, as a consultant, and as a case worker. This varied experience gives him a wealth of knowledge and information and truly unique insight into our field. One of his key insights has been around the relationship between chronic neglect and child sexual abuse. Now if you’ve been working in the child protection field for a while, you often think about it—yes, that people are polyvictimized, or maybe victimized in more than one way. But have you thought deeply about the fact that chronic neglect may create the environment in which child sexual abuse can thrive?

DiLorenzo asks the question about how we might interrupt the cycle of generational abuse by stopping the cycle of chronic neglect. What prevents us from doing this right now? Is part of it that as child abuse professionals, we’ve grown cynical and given up on some families entirely as they cycle back through the system? What would it really mean if we truly believed in the power of redemption and that even the most struggling families could change? Join us in this thoughtful conversation about engaging families right where they are and helping them invest in their own healing.

Topics in this episode:

  • Recurrence and revictimization (1:42)
  • What increases the risk (7:26)
  • Key points for prevention and intervention (14:49)
  • Own the outcome (25:39)
  • What’s not working (31:46)
  • Learn more about NCA and CACs (39:20)


Abbreviations used in this conversation: CAC means Children’s Advocacy Center; MDT is multidisciplinary team; CPS is child protective services

Paul DiLorenzo, ACSW, MLSP, interim executive director, Philadelphia Children’s Alliance

Child Sexual Abuse Recurrence report, Philadelphia Children’s Alliance and Temple University (December 2020)

Julia Kobulsky, Ph.D., and Bernie Newman, Ph.D.Temple University School of Social Work

Engaging and Healing Families webinar, Philadelphia Children’s Alliance (February 17, 2021)

Casey Family Programs

National Children’s Advocacy Center (NCAC) in Huntsville, Alabama, was the first CAC

Humans of New York

Vicarious trauma, secondary traumatic stress (TEND definitions)

Transcript to come.