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)
A Better Start: Child Maltreatment Prevention as a Public Health Priority (PDF- 704)
Zero To Three (2010)
Develops a shared understanding of how the prevention of child maltreatment promotes optimal development and reduces health disparities, and explores the role of public health agencies in preventing maltreatment.
Preventing Child Maltreatment [Webcast]
The Brookings Institution (2009)
Addresses the role of home visiting and other programs in the prevention of child abuse and neglect. The webcast also discusses the release of a new Future of Children journal issue on Preventing Child Maltreatment (19(2), 2009).
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.
The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study
Presents research findings from a 10-year scientific study analyzing the relationship between multiple categories of childhood trauma and health and behavioral outcomes later in life.
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.
Paying Later: The High Costs of Failing to Invest in Young Children (PDF - 220 KB)
Pew Center on the States, Partnership for America's Economic Success (2011)
Reports the findings of a study that explored the social costs caused by an array of bad outcomes, including child abuse and neglect, high school dropouts, criminal activity, teen pregnancy, drug and alcohol abuse, and other health problems, and how these costs could be reduced by investing in evidence-based early childhood programs.
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.