Child abuse and neglect causes trauma, which can impair brain development and is linked to physical, emotional, and behavioral issues later in life. Understanding the symptoms and risk factors for child maltreatment can help child welfare professionals and others identify and build on families’ strengths and natural supports to prevent and mitigate maltreatment and keep children safe.
Child neglect is the most common form of child maltreatment and happens when a parent or caregiver does not provide poverty does not equal neglect. Child abuse is an act by a parent or caregiver that results in or risks serious harm to a child.
All families experience stress. When multiple stressors (or risk factors) build up in families, children have a greater likelihood of experiencing maltreatment. Other conditions or attributes in families, called protective factors, may lessen the likelihood of child maltreatment. Positive childhood experiences may reduce the long-term impacts of trauma, build resilience in children, and help families heal.
Use these resources to learn about child abuse and neglect.
Adjust the filters below to refine your list of resources.
Can’t find what you need in the filtered results? Try searching our Library catalog to access a large selection of peer-reviewed journal articles, evaluation reports, Children’s Bureau grant materials, research studies, and more.
Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect
Presents State civil laws that define the conduct, acts, and omissions that constitute child abuse or neglect that must be reported to child protective agencies and definitions of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, neglect, and sexual exploitatio ...Read More
Two-Generation Approaches to Supporting Family Well-Being
Read about two-generation approaches and why child welfare agencies should use them to improve outcomes for families. Learn how to build parental capacity and protective factors within families, often with the goal of interrupting cycles of poverty.
What Is Child Abuse and Neglect? Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms
Outlines the legal definition, types, and signs and symptoms of child abuse and neglect, including human trafficking. It also includes information on how to effectively identify and report maltreatment as well as referring children who've been maltre ...Read More
Cross-Reporting Among Agencies That Respond to Child Abuse and Neglect
Discusses State laws that authorize cross-reporting and information sharing among the agencies that must respond to reports of suspected child abuse or neglect, typically among social services agencies, law enforcement departments, and prosecutors' o ...Read More
Separating Poverty From Neglect in Child Welfare
Explore the overlap among families experiencing poverty and those reported to the child welfare system for neglect, the societal context within which poverty and neglect exist, and strategies for preventing and addressing both poverty and neglect.
Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect
Discusses State laws that designate the groups of professionals required to report cases of suspected child abuse and neglect. It also addresses training requirements for mandatory reporters, reporting by other persons, the responsibilities of instit ...Read More