Child Maltreatment

Preventing Child Maltreatment

Child abuse is a complex problem rooted in unhealthy relationships and environments. Safe, stable and nurturing relationships and environments for all children and families can prevent child abuse (1). Preventing child maltreatment is the responsibility of parents, family members, friends, and the community.

Parents and Caregivers

Parents, grandparents, and caregivers all play a role in preventing child maltreatment by being informed of resources and participating in community services. Listed below are things caregivers can do to prevent child maltreatment.

  • Particpate in parent education programs and support groups that focus on child development, age-appropriate expectations, and the roles and responsibilities of parenting.
  • Participate in parent mentor programs with stable, non-abusive families acting as "role models" and providing support to families in crisis.
  • Know the locations of local Crisis Nurseries which provide care for young children for parents who are stressed, need a break, have an emergency arise, or have no one else to help take care of their children.
  • Know how to access mental health services for children and families affected by maltreatment to improve family communication and functioning.
  • Participate in family support and family strengthening programs that enhance the ability of families to access existing services and resources to support positive interactions among family members.
  • Create family resource centers that offer information and referral services to families living in low-income neighborhoods.
  • Participate in home visiting programs that provide support and assistance to expecting and new mothers in their homes.

Community Partners

Community partners are essential in preventing child maltreatment. Listed below are things community partners can do to prevent child maltreatment.

  • Implement evidence-based programs proven to stop child maltreatment or abuse. These programs include the Child-Parent Centers, Durham Family Initiative, Nurse-Family Partnership, Triple P, and The Safe Environment for Every Kid (SEEK).
  • Provide parent support groups that help parents transform negative practices and beliefs into positive parenting behaviors and attitudes.
  • Provide respite care for families that have children with special needs.
  • Provide intensive family preservation services with trained mental health counselors that are available to families 24 hours per day for a short period of time (e.g., 6 to 8 weeks).
  • Create public service announcements that encourage positive parenting.
  • Create public awareness campaigns that provide information on how and where to report suspected child abuse and neglect (2).

References

  1. Child Maltreatment: Prevention Strategies
  2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families
  3. Injury-related deaths include the following: homicide, suicide, drowning, other unintentional injuries, OHV/ATV, motor vehicle (driver, passenger, and pedestrian), SIDS, SIDS vs. Asphyxia, unintentional injuries during sleep, infant sleep deaths of undetermined manner, poisonings of undetermined manner, and other deaths of undetermined manner.