So, what is prevention really?
When we say “child abuse prevention” we are talking about creating safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments for children and families. While everyone can agree we want to prevent child abuse and neglect, understanding evidence-based strategies and programs to achieve this are less commonly understood.
Explore ways to support families and prevent child maltreatment by hovering on the graphic below.
This model helps communicate strategies needed at every level to prevent child maltreatment and provides examples of initiatives and programs currently happening around the state. By clearly stating how individuals and groups can work to prevent maltreatment, we can create a common agenda and collective effort to ensure safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments for Georgia’s children and families.
The prevention of child abuse and neglect cannot be achieved with one program or one strategy. It requires a comprehensive approach with strategies at many different levels and with multiple sectors working together. There are several ways to think about and group the comprehensive set of strategies needed based on:
WHEN they occur: primary or secondary prevention (before abuse or neglect occurs) or tertiary (after abuse or neglect has occurred)
- Public service announcements that encourage positive parenting
- Parent education programs and support groups that focus on child development, age-appropriate expectations, and the roles and responsibilities of parenting
- 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
- Public awareness campaigns that provide information on how and where to report suspected child abuse and neglect
- Parent education programs located in high schools, focusing on teen parents, or those within substance abuse treatment programs for mothers and families with young children
- Parent support groups that help parents deal with their everyday stresses and meet the challenges and responsibilities of parenting
- Home visiting programs that provide support and assistance to expecting and new mothers in their homes
- Respite care for families that have children with special needs
- Family resource centers that offer information and referral services to families living in low-income neighborhoods
- 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)
- Parent mentor programs with stable, nonabusive families acting as “role models” and providing support to families in crisis
- Parent support groups that help parents transform negative practices and beliefs into positive parenting behaviors and attitudes
- Mental health services for children and families affected by maltreatment to improve family communication and functioning
WHAT level of the social ecology they are intended to impact (societal, community, relationship, individual)
WHO in the population are the strategies designed to influence (universal/everyone, selected/those at greatest risk, or indicated/those who have already experienced abuse
This prevention model includes strategies at all levels and identifies societal level prevention strategies, such as economic supports for families, access to early care and education and family friendly work policies, as the foundation that is necessary to support the success of strategies at all the additional levels in preventing child abuse and neglect.
Ecological Framework for Prevention, Child Welfare Gateway, https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/preventing/overview/framework/ecological/
The Social-Ecological Model: A Framework for Prevention, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,