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May 2018   |   Archive   |   National Adoption Month   

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Primary Prevention

The Children's Bureau has recently reinforced their commitment to strengthening the capacity of families to provide and care for the safety and well-being of their children. The Children’s Bureau’s Associate Commissioner, Dr. Jerry Milner, has established that primary prevention of child maltreatment, including avoiding the unnecessary removal of children, is the most effective way to ultimately protect children from trauma. As Dr. Milner describes in a recent article in The Chronicles of Social Change, Trumps Top Child Welfare Official: Family First a Good First Step, but True Prevention is Key, primary prevention involves addressing the underlying causes of maltreatment and the intergenerational cycle of abuse and neglect. In this article he also provides promising examples of what this kind of primary prevention looks like in places such as Harlem Children's Zone and Casey Family Programs' Communities of Hope. Primary prevention is a model that requires a community-based approach and must involve a diverse array of stakeholders, agencies, and systems.

As many of you know, the Family First Prevention Services Act was signed into law a few months ago as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. While Dr. Milner affirms this law as evidence of progress, he also maintains that more can and should be done. He states, "We should consciously avoid inflicting psychological and emotional damage to children in our efforts to achieve physical safety. We can help to do that by providing services to help families stay together whenever possible; keeping children in their communities if removal is necessary, ideally within their extended families; protecting the integrity of the parent-child relationship whenever possible; and normalizing their experience in foster care as much as possible." 


3 Resources About Adoption Assistance

2018 Prevention
Resource Guide

By Child Welfare
Information Gateway

Protective Factors
Action Sheets

By Center for the Study
of Social Policy


Trumps Top Child
Welfare Official Speaks

By Chronicles of Social Change


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