Children do best when they grow with their own families and remain safely connected to their family and community. Effective prevention strategies that reduce risk factors and build protective factors are vital to help whole families thrive and prevent child abuse and neglect and family separation.

The Federal Family First Prevention Services Act allows funding for community- and evidence-based services for all family members (and fictive kin) to support the child and their family in their community. The most effective prevention efforts work at the community level, strengthening the family’s social network and utilizing that network as a source of support.

Families, especially those who are low-income and families of color, are placed at disproportionate risk of child welfare involvement due to societal factors such as underresourced neighborhoods and racially biased housing and employment practices. The social-ecological model acknowledges the many different levels of factors that influence families. All families should have equitable and easy access to culturally responsive prevention programs and services that address societal and community-level issues, in addition to those addressing individual and family risk factors.

Use these resources to learn more about prevention in child welfare.

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