Topic: Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (Primary) Programs

Scientific Ratings in this topic:

1 - Well-Supported by Research Evidence

2 - Supported by Research Evidence

3 - Promising Research Evidence

4 - Evidence Fails to Demonstrate Effect

5 - Concerning Practice

NR - Not able to be Rated

Learn more about the scale

Definition for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (Primary) Programs:

Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (Primary) Programs is defined by the CEBC as programs directed at the general population which are designed to prevent abuse and neglect from occurring for the first time in a family. They may also be called “universal prevention programs.” These programs may educate the general public, service providers, and policymakers about the scope and problems associated with child maltreatment, the factors that lead to maltreatment, and ways to prevent it. Services may include public education campaigns, educational efforts (including parent education programs and universal efforts to educate children on safety and young adults on relationship building), support groups, and family support and strengthening programs.

In addition to programs specifically focused on preventing child abuse and neglect, which are listed below, services focused on the underlying factors or causes for maltreatment should be included as part of any comprehensive prevention plan. Services that may be associated with the prevention of maltreatment include treatment for substance abuse and mental health problems, addressing anger management and domestic violence issues, parent training, home visitation, and support for basic needs, such as housing and nutrition. Please note that many of these areas have been reviewed by the CEBC; please click here for a list of topic areas on the CEBC. These programs are not included in the Primary Prevention topic area unless they meet the criteria below.

  • Target population: All members of the community, including service providers, policymakers, and child-serving organizations. May also target specific members of the population on a broad basis, such as all parents, all parents of newborns, or school teachers.
  • Services/types that fit: Public service campaigns, educational efforts, family strengthening programs
  • Delivered by: Child welfare workers, mental health professionals, family support workers, home visitors, public health nurses, or trained paraprofessionals
  • In order to be included: Program must specifically target the prevention of abuse and/or neglect. Programs may prevent maltreatment as a primary or secondary outcome.
  • In order to be rated: There must be research evidence (as specified by the Scientific Rating Scale) that examines maltreatment-related outcomes, such as abuse and neglect reports and abuse-related parenting behaviors, either observed or self-reported.
Note: The CEBC has already examined programs in the following related topic areas: Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (Secondary) Programs, Interventions for Neglect, and Interventions for Abusive Behavior.

Why was Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (Primary) Programs chosen as a topic by the Advisory Committee? (Click for Answer)

The Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (Primary) Programs topic area is relevant to child welfare because these programs have the potential to decrease the number of children needing child welfare services. These universal prevention programs aim to prevent child abuse and neglect from occurring. According to the Children’s Bureau’s Child Maltreatment 2013 report, it is estimated there are 3.5 million reports of child abuse made annually in the United States involving 6.4 million children. Programs that decrease the likelihood that children will ever be abused or neglected through educating parents, teachers, doctors, other service providers, and the general public about the scope and problems associated with child maltreatment, the factors that lead to maltreatment, and ways to prevent it are important. Studies such as the CDC’s Adverse Childhood Experiences study have shown the long-term medical effects of childhood trauma. Preventing these long-term effects by preventing childhood abuse and neglect would have a huge impact on creating a physically and mentally healthier U.S. population.

Programs in this Topic Area

The programs listed below have been reviewed by the CEBC and, if appropriate, been rated using the Scientific Rating Scale.

Programs with a Scientific Rating of 1 - Well-Supported by Research Evidence:

Programs with a Scientific Rating of 2 - Supported by Research Evidence:

Programs with a Scientific Rating of 3 - Promising Research Evidence:

  • ACT Raising Safe Kidsdetailed view
    Topics: Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (Primary) Programs
    Parents and caregivers (e.g., grandparents and other relatives raising young children, foster parents, and adoptive parents) of children birth ...
  • “Who Do You Tell?”™ – non-responder
    Topics: Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (Primary) Programs
    Children from kindergarten to grade 6
  • Body Safety Training Workbook (BST)detailed view
    Topics: Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (Primary) Programs
    Children ages 3-8 years old and their parents and teachers
  • Parents as Teachersdetailed view
    Topics: Home Visiting Programs for Child Well-Being, Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (Primary) Programs
    Families with an expectant mother or parents of children up to kindergarten entry (usually 5 years)
  • Period of PURPLE Cryingdetailed view
    Topics: Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (Primary) Programs
    All mothers and fathers of infants up to 5 months of age and society in general in their understanding of early ...
  • Safe Babies New York Programdetailed view
    [The Upstate New York Shaken Baby Syndrome Education Program]
    Topics: Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (Primary) Programs
    Mothers, fathers, or father figures of babies just born
  • Safe Child Program, Thedetailed view
    Topics: Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (Primary) Programs
    Preschool through Grade 3
  • Stewards of Childrendetailed view
    Topics: Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (Primary) Programs
    Staff and volunteers of schools and other youth-serving organizations, parents/caregivers, and concerned adults
  • Strong Communities for Childrendetailed view
    Topics: Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (Primary) Programs
    Entire communities with the intent to generate and sustain support for families with young children

Programs with a Scientific Rating of NR - Not able to be Rated:

  • Circles of Safety®detailed view
    Topics: Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (Primary) Programs
    Youth serving organizations with professionals, paraprofessionals, and all others who work in settings where adults and children and/or adolescents ...
  • Happiest Baby, The (THB)detailed view
    Topics: Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (Primary) Programs
    New parents, grandparents, teachers and healthcare professionals
  • MBF Child Safety Matters – non-responder
    Topics: Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (Primary) Programs