Prevention Strategies

Child abuse and neglect are serious problems that can have lasting harmful effects on its victims. The goal in preventing child abuse and neglect is to stop this violence from happening in the first place.

Child abuse and neglect are complex problems rooted in unhealthy relationships and environments. Preventing child abuse and neglect requires addressing factors at all levels of the social ecology–the individual, relational, community, and societal levels.

CDC’s Technical Package for Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect Cdc-pdf[3.69 MB, 52 Pages, 508] identifies a number of strategies based on the best available evidence to help states and communities prevent and reduce child abuse and neglect. Effective prevention strategies focus on modifying policies, practices, and societal norms to create safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments. The strategies and their corresponding approaches are presented in the table below.

Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect

Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect

Strategy Approach
Strengthen economic supports to families
  • Strengthening household financial security
  • Family-friendly work policies
Change social norms to support parents and positive parenting
  • Public engagement and education campaigns
  • Legislative approaches to reduce corporal punishment
Provide quality care and education early in life
  • Preschool enrichment with family engagement
  • Improved quality of child care through licensing and accreditation
Enhance parenting skills to promote healthy child development
  • Early childhood home visitation
  • Parenting skill and family relationship approaches
Intervene to lessen harms and prevent future risk
  • Enhanced primary care
  • Behavioral parent training programs
  • Treatment to lessen harms of abuse and neglect exposure
  • Treatment to prevent problem behavior and later involvement in violence

 

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Resources and Planning Tools

  • Connecting the Dots is a free, online training that helps users implement prevention strategies that address shared risk and protective factors across multiple forms of violence.
  • Developing and Sustaining Prevention ProgramsExternal on the Child Welfare Information Gateway website provides resources on developing a prevention program, conducting a community needs assessment, funding, collaborating, evaluating program effectiveness, and building community support.
  • Essentials for Childhood Cdc-pdf[5.5MB, 44Pages, 508] proposes strategies communities can consider to promote the types of 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.
  • Essentials for Parenting Toddlers and Preschoolers is a free, online resource developed by CDC’s Division of Violence Prevention. It provides information about what parents can do to build a positive, healthy relationship with their child. It is also available in Spanish.
  • EvaluACTION is designed for people interested in learning about program evaluation and how to apply it to their work.
  • Making the Case: Engaging the Business Sector is a free online resource that explains how users and their communities can work with the business sector to assure safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments for all children and families.
  • Principles of Prevention is an online training or you to learn how to apply key concepts of primary prevention, the public health approach, and the social-ecological model to your violence prevention work.
  • Understanding Evidence is an interactive web resource that supports public health practitioners in making evidence-informed decisions around violence prevention.

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Reviews of Effective and Promising Programs

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Page last reviewed: February 26, 2019