Essentials for Childhood: Creating Safe, Stable, Nurturing Relationships and Environments

Young children experience their world through their relationships with parents and other caregivers. Safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments are essential to preventing child abuse and neglect. The Essentials for Childhood Framework pdf icon[24.3 MB, 36 Pages, 508] includes strategies to promote relationships and environments that can help create neighborhoods, communities, and a world in which every child can thrive.

The Essentials for Childhood Framework is intended for communities committed to both, promoting the positive development of children and families and preventing child abuse and neglect. The framework has four goal areas and suggests strategies based on the best available evidence to achieve each goal. The four goal areas include:

  • Goal 1: Raise awareness and commitment to promote safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments and prevent child abuse and neglect
  • Goal 2: Use data to inform actions
  • Goal 3: Create the context for healthy children and families through norms change and programs
  • Goal 4: Create the context for healthy children and families through policies

States Implementing the Framework

CDC’s Division of Violence Prevention is funding seven state health departments in California, Colorado, Kansas, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Utah, and Washington to implement the four goals. CDC also offers technical assistance and training to other states that do not receive CDC funding but are engaged at varying levels in implementing the Framework. State health departments:

  • Coordinate and manage partnerships with other child abuse and neglect prevention organizations and non-traditional partners involved in assuring safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments for children
  • 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

Essentials for Parenting Toddlers and Preschoolers

Essentials for Parenting Toddlers and Preschoolers is a free, online resource designed for parents of 2 to 4 year olds. It addresses common parenting challenges, like tantrums and whining. This resource provides information on things parents can do to build a positive, healthy relationship. Skills focus on encouraging good behavior and decreasing misbehavior using proven strategies like positive communication, structure and rules, clear directions, and consistent discipline and consequences. Essentials for Parenting includes:

  • Articles with a variety of skills, tips, and techniques
  • “Frequently Asked Questions” answered by parenting experts
  • Fun and engaging videos featuring parents, children, and parenting experts who demonstrate and discuss skills
  • Free print resources like chore charts and daily schedules

See Child Abuse and Neglect Resources for more articles, publications, data sources, and prevention resources about child abuse and neglect. 

Page last reviewed: March 5, 2019