Safe Environment for Every Kid (SEEK) [Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (Secondary) Programs]

The information in this program outline is provided by the program representative and edited by the CEBC staff. This program has been rated by the CEBC in the following Topic Areas:

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About This Program

Target Population: Families with children aged 0-5 years who have risk factors for child maltreatment such as parental depression or substance abuse

For children/adolescents ages: 0 – 5

For parents/caregivers of children ages: 0 – 5

Brief Description

SEEK utilizes pediatric primary care as an opportunity to help prevent child maltreatment in families who may have risk factors for child maltreatment. Most children receive this care and there are frequent visits in the first 5 years. Also, the generally good relationship between health professionals and parents offers an opportunity to identify and help address prevalent psychosocial problems.

SEEK begins with training professionals to play this role. Online videos and other materials are available on the SEEK website. Continuing Medical Education (CME) credit is offered as well as Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Categories 2 and 4 credit (through the American Board of Pediatrics and the American Board of Family Medicine). The SEEK Parent Questionnaire (PQ) is a tool to screen for the targeted problems: parental depression, substance abuse, major stress, intimate partner violence, food insecurity, and harsh punishment. It is completed in advance and given to the professional at the start of a regular checkup.

The trained professional then briefly assesses and initially addresses identified risk factors and makes necessary referrals to community resources, ideally with the help of a mental health professional. Principles of Motivational Interviewing have been incorporated into SEEK and parent handouts are available as adjuncts to advice offered in the visit.

Note: SEEK is rated "2 - Supported by Research Evidence" in the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (Secondary) Programs topic area and is rated a a "1 - Well-Supported by Research Evidence" in the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (Primary) Programs topic area due to the difference in program characteristics considered for inclusion each of the two topic areas. Please click on the topic areas above to see the complete definitions for each of them and a link to the corresponding SEEK entry in the program list listed below the definition. There is published, peer-reviewed research on SEEK that qualifies it to be rated in both topic areas, but the research for one of them is stronger than the other. Please see the CEBC Scientific Rating Scale to see the differences in rating classifications.

Program Goals:

The goals of Safe Environment for Every Kid (SEEK) are:

  • Improve pediatric primary care, in order to better address prevalent psychosocial problems
  • Prepare pediatric primary care professionals (e.g., pediatricians, family medicine physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants) to identify, briefly assess, and help address major risk factors for child maltreatment
  • Identify families with major risk factors for child maltreatment and facilitate help when indicated
  • Strengthen families, support parents, and promote children’s health, development, and safety
  • Prevent child abuse and neglect

Contact Information

Howard Dubowitz, MD, MS, FAAP
Agency/Affiliation: University of Maryland School of Medicine
Phone: (410) 706-6144

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: June 2018

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: March 2016

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: April 2014