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April 2008Vol. 9, No. 3How Children's Hospitals Help Prevent Child Abuse

Children's hospitals are in a prime position to provide parent education that can help prevent child abuse. A report by the National Association of Children's Hospitals and Related Institutions (NACHRI) highlights the efforts being implemented by 12 children's hospitals across the country working closely with families and communities to prevent child maltreatment.

One of the earliest hospital-based parent education programs was developed in 1998 by Dr. Mark Dias at the Women and Children's Hospital in Buffalo, NY. The model program included the use of a video, a commitment statement, and other information for parents and caregivers about shaken baby syndrome (SBS). Use of the program resulted in a 54 percent decrease in SBS. The NACHRI report notes that hospital-based programs nationwide have continued to use Dias's model with similar promising results.

Other methods that focus on educating parents and caregivers on child maltreatment include:

  • Community-based programs, including SBS prevention programs designed for unrelated adult males and programs that teach child caregivers about sexual abuse prevention
  • Programs that focus on reframing their prevention messages to reach either a broader public or a specific segment of adults

To view the full report, Children's Hospitals at the Frontlines: The Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, visit: (PDF - 225 KB)