Child Maltreatment and Brain Development: A Primer for Child Welfare Professionals

Date: January 2023

Abuse and neglect can have drastic short- and long-term effects on children's and youth's developing brains. Research that links child maltreatment and changes in brain structure and development has strengthened considerably recently. This connection has many implications for the prevention and treatment of child maltreatment. This publication provides introductory information on brain development and how it may be affected by abuse and neglect, including the resulting emotional, mental, and behavioral impacts. It also describes the implications and considerations for child welfare practice, such as prevention; early intervention; and working with caregivers, including parents, kin caregivers, foster parents, and others. 

Suggested Citation: Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2023). Child maltreatment and brain development: A primer for child welfare professionals. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children's Bureau.

This material may be freely reproduced and distributed. However, when doing so, please credit Child Welfare Information Gateway.

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