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April 2003Vol. 4, No. 3Emerging Practices in the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect

The Children's Bureau will release a new report this month, Emerging Practices in the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, identifying effective, innovative, and noteworthy aspects of child maltreatment prevention programs. Part of the Children's Bureau's Prevention Initiative, the report's purpose is to inform the professional community about effective practices, detect gaps in knowledge about the effectiveness of existing programs, identify priorities for research, and use research to improve practice and develop new effective programs.

Programs nominated for the project were reviewed by an advisory group of experts in child abuse prevention and evaluation. "Effective" programs were defined as those that demonstrated effectiveness through rigorous evaluation, with a second tier for programs that reported effectiveness but used less rigorous evaluation methods. "Innovative" programs used innovative methods to overcome a particular challenge or showcased a new approach to prevention. Programs with "noteworthy aspects" did not meet the specific requirements for the effective or innovative categories but had unique qualities that the advisory group felt were worthy of highlighting.

Of the 28 programs reviewed, 22 were ultimately selected:

  • 3 were determined to be effective (only 1 was considered to have demonstrated effectiveness).
  • 7 were considered innovative.
  • 12 were deemed to have noteworthy aspects.

The available research suggests that the intensity and duration of a program's involvement with families is crucial to reducing child maltreatment and improving how families function. However, the results of the nomination process point to the need to improve the capacity of child maltreatment prevention programs to demonstrate their effectiveness.

This report is available on the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information website at

Related Item

Read about the prevention program recognized as having "demonstrated effectiveness" in "Baltimore's Family Connections Program Proven to Prevent Child Maltreatment" in this issue of Children's Bureau Express.