With respect to human services, prevention typically consists of methods or activities that seek to reduce or deter specific or predictable problems, protect the current state of well-being, or promote desired outcomes or behaviors.
The term "prevention" is typically used to represent activities that stop an action or behavior. It can also be used to represent activities that promote a positive action or behavior. Research has found that successful child abuse interventions must both reduce risk factors and promote protective factors to ensure the well-being of children and families.
Protective factors are conditions in families and communities that, when present, increase the health and well-being of children and families. They are attributes that serve as buffers, helping parents who might otherwise be at risk of abusing their children to find resources, supports, or coping strategies that allow them to parent effectively, even under stress.
Child Maltreatment Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Provides information and resources addressing definitions, data sources, risk and protective factors, consequences, prevention strategies, and more.
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Child Welfare Information Gateway.
Download (PDF - 272KB)
Parenting and Family Support within a Broad Child Abuse Prevention Strategy: Child Maltreatment Prevention can Benefit From Public Health Strategies
Child Abuse & Neglect, 51
Examines child abuse and neglect prevention from a community perspective, with special attention paid to parenting-focused intervention. Adopting a public health approach in prevention strategies can strengthen community systems that decreases child maltreatment.
The impact of child maltreatment can be profound. Research shows that child maltreatment is associated with adverse health and mental health outcomes in children and families, and those negative effects can last a lifetime. In addition to the impact on the child, child abuse and neglect affect various systems, including physical and mental heath, law enforcement, judicial and public social services, and nonprofit agencies as they respond to the incident and support the victims. One analysis of the immediate and long-term economic impact of child abuse and neglect suggests that child maltreatment costs the nation as much as $258 million each day, or approximately $94 billion each year.
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2016)
Investigates the ways in which adverse childhood experiences affect experiences throughout the life course. Website provides the ACE study, as well as additional resources and related journal articles.
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Response
University of Albany & Prevent Child Abuse America
Seeks to connect research data and its potential for real-world application to prevent adverse childhood experiences and their consequences through policy and program leadership, community development, and direct practice.
Invest in Kids Working Group
Partnership for America's Economic Success
Examines and documents the economic benefits of investments in young children and explores policies to finance expansion of such services.
Making the Case: Why Prevention Matters
Prevent Child Abuse America
Presents several papers that review changes in the field of child abuse prevention that have led to improved child health and well-being and discuss ways to sustain support for prevention.
Total Estimated Cost of Child Abuse and Neglect in the United States (PDF - 415 KB)
Prevent Child Abuse America (2012)
Outlines direct and indirect costs of responding to the impact of child abuse and neglect both by the victims and their families and by society.