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March 2010Vol. 11, No. 2Video on Working Together to Prevent Child Abuse

"Circles of Caring," a video from Prevent Child Abuse West Virginia, demonstrates that everyone can play a role in preventing child abuse. The Circles of Caring concept is based on research from the Center for the Study of Social Policy's Strengthening Families Initiative, which identifies several protective factors linked to reduced occurrences of child abuse and neglect. The video explains how individuals, groups, and communities can form the following Circles of Caring to support child development and prevent abuse:

  • Knowledge of parenting and child development. Ensure that parents are educated about the stages of child development. Parent education programs, improved parenting skills, and parent information are part of this circle.
  • Parental resilience. Reach out to parents, particularly during difficult times. Community programs such as in-home family education and parent support groups are part of this circle.
  • Social connections. Be a supportive friend or helpful neighbor, get parents involved in local groups so that they can build relationships with each other, and connect with parents online through social networks and email.
  • Social and emotional development of children. Support children's social and emotional skills and help them to express their feelings and needs effectively. Quality early care and education programs, trusted family members, and mentors are part of this circle and can help to strengthen communication and bonds among children, parents, and other adults.
  • Concrete supports in times of need. Help parents during difficult times, especially through community services, donations, and volunteering.

The "Circles of Caring" video is available on YouTube:

More information about the protective factors is available on the Child Welfare Information Gateway website: