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Essentials for Childhood Framework: Steps to Create Safe, Stable, Nurturing Relationships and Environments for All Children

Safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments are essential to prevent child abuse and neglect and to assure all children reach their full potential. The Essentials for Childhood Framework [PDF 5.5MB] proposes strategies communities can consider to promote relationships and environments that help children grow up to be healthy and productive citizens so that they, in turn, can build stronger and safer families and communities for their children.

The Essentials for Childhood Framework is intended for communities committed to the positive development of children and families, and specifically to the prevention of child abuse and neglect. The framework has four goal areas and suggests steps based on best available evidence to achieve each goal. While child abuse and neglect is a significant public health problem, it is also a preventable one. The steps suggested in the Essentials for Childhood Framework — along with your commitment to preventing child abuse and neglect—can help create neighborhoods, communities, and a world in which every child can thrive.

State Level Implementation of the Framework

CDC's Division of Violence Prevention is funding five state health departments in California, Colorado, Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Washington to implement the four strategies in the Essentials for Childhood Framework using a collective impact process. CDC also offers technical assistance and training to many other states that do not receive CDC funding but are engaged at varying levels in implementing the Essentials for Childhood Framework. Specifically, state health departments

  • Coordinate and manage existing and new partnerships with other child abuse and neglect prevention organizations and non-traditional partners
  • Work with partners to identify and align strategies across sectors
  • Identify, coordinate, monitor and report on the strategies implemented by multi-sector partners
  • Document state-level impact of these efforts

Framework Resources

Additional Resource for State Health Departments

The Public Health Leadership (PHL) Initiative toolkit for child abuse and neglect prevention was developed to help state health departments promote and enhance child maltreatment prevention efforts. The toolkit and related resources, videos, and expert commentaries are available on VetoViolence.

Understanding Child Abuse and Neglect

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