Child Abuse Charges and Adrian Peterson

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Debra Schilling Wolfe
Executive Director, Field Center for Children’s Policy, Practice & Research
University of Pennsylvania


  • Nationally recognized expert in child welfare for more than 30 years with an extensive clinical background that includes child and family therapy
  • Leads the interdisciplinary team at the Field Center, the only center of its kind in the country
  • Highly influential in making changes to Pennsylvania’s child abuse laws and policies in light of the Sandusky case.


“We often hear that children are hit or beaten because that is how their parents were brought up, as in the case of Adrian Peterson. Parents may only have their own childhood experiences in their ’toolkit’ for parenting. We need to expand that toolkit, to offer parents alternative methods of discipline that are both effective and safe.

“The only way most of us know how to parent is how we were raised. When that experience included the infliction of injury, we need to break the cycle and help parents learn alternative methods that will raise kids up, not beat them down.

“Many parents who beat their children don’t know any other way to discipline them. Most don’t want to harm their kids; they just don’t have options in their parenting toolbox."