With the enactment of the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) in 2018 as part of Public Law 115–123, there has been a greater focus by child welfare systems to move away from being a reactive system that responds after harm has occurred to a family and child well-being system that supports families as a strategy to prevent child maltreatment. This shift will require increased investment in families and their well-being from communities, organizations, and all systems that serve children and families.
Resources on this page provide guidance on what child maltreatment prevention is and outlines the importance of becoming a more prevention-oriented system.
What is child maltreatment prevention?
The term "prevention" is typically used to represent activities that stop an action or behavior from occurring in the first place. It can also refer to activities that promote a positive action or behavior. Effective prevention and early intervention strategies that both reduce risk factors and promote protective factors to ensure the well-being of children and families are vital to preventing child abuse and neglect.
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 or neglecting their children to find resources, supports, or coping strategies that allow them to parent effectively, even under stress.
Child Abuse and Neglect: What Parents Should Know
Describes the types of maltreatment as well as risk factors, signs and symptoms, long-term consequences, and prevention.
Creating Positive Childhood Experiences
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control
Presents an overview of child abuse and neglect prevention and reviews related statistics, how abuse and neglect are preventable, and links to several resources on prevention and parenting essentials.
Child Maltreatment Prevention: Past, Present, and Future
Preventing Child Abuse & Neglect
National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare
Offers resources regarding the heightened focus of primary prevention and the passage of FFPSA.
What is Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect?
FRIENDS National Center for Community Based Child Abuse Prevention
Discusses community-based child abuse prevention programs, including the types of prevention activities that are funded across the country.
Why is child abuse prevention important?
The impact of child maltreatment can be profound. Research shows that child maltreatment is associated with adverse physical and behavioral 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 also has profound, broad implications on communities. estimated the total lifetime costs associated with just the substantiated cases of child maltreatment in 2015 was approximately $428 billion.
3 Reasons Why Educators Are Essential to Child Abuse Prevention
Committee for Children
Highlights the important role that educators play in the prevention of child abuse and neglect.
Making the Case: “Why Prevention Matters”
Prevent Child Abuse America
Presents several papers that review changes in child abuse prevention efforts that have led to improved child health and well-being and discuss ways to sustain support for prevention.