Topic: Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (Primary) Programs
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; or prevention-related outcomes such as children's knowledge and/or behavior regarding personal safety including recognizing, resisting, and reporting inappropriate touches and behaviors.
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.
Two Programs with a Scientific Rating of 1 - Well-Supported by Research Evidence:
- Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP)First time, low-income mothers (adolescents and adults, with no set maximum age) and their infants ages birth-2 years
- Safe Environment for Every Kid (SEEK)Primary Prevention use: Families with children aged 0-5 years. Secondary Prevention use: Families with children aged 0-5 years who have ...
12 Programs with a Scientific Rating of 3 - Promising Research Evidence:
- ACT Raising Safe KidsParents and caregivers (e.g., grandparents and other relatives raising young children, foster parents, and adoptive parents) of children birth ...
- Body Safety Training Workbook (BST)Children and/or students ages 3-8 years old and their parents and/or teachers
- Childhelp® Speak Up Be Safe (CHSUBS)Children in grades prekindergarten to 12 (ages 4-18)
- MBF Child Safety Matters®Children in grades K-5, their parents/guardians, and personnel at the children’s school
- Parents Anonymous®Parents, grandparents, relative and kin providers, foster parents, or anyone serving in a parenting or caregiver role and children and ...
- Parents as TeachersFamilies with an expectant mother or parents of children up to kindergarten entry (usually 5 years)
- Period of PURPLE CryingAll mothers, fathers, and secondary caregivers of infants up to 2 years of age as well as society in general in ...
- Safe Child Program, TheThe Safe Child ProgramStudents in Preschool through Grade 3
- Safe TouchesChildren in Kindergarten through 3rd grade
- Stewards of ChildrenStaff and volunteers of schools and other youth-serving organizations, parents/caregivers, and concerned adults
- Strong Communities for ChildrenEntire communities with the intent to generate and sustain support for families with young children
- Who Do You Tell?™ – non-responderChildren from kindergarten to grade 6
Five Programs with a Scientific Rating of NR - Not able to be Rated:
- Circles of Safety®Youth serving organizations with professionals, paraprofessionals, and all others who work in settings where adults and children and/or adolescents ...
- Family HuiParents of children birth to five years old
- Happiest Baby, The (THB)The Happiest BabyNew parents, grandparents, teachers and healthcare professionals
- MBF Teen Safety Matters®Youth in grades 6-12, their parents/guardians, and personnel at the youth’s school
- Safe Families for Children (SFFC)Parents in crisis and their children from birth to 18 years of age who are in need of safe place to ...
Why was this topic chosen by the Advisory Committee?
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.
Deborah Daro, PhD, Chapin Hall Research Fellow
Chapin Hall Center for Children, University of Chicago