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April 2014Vol. 15, No. 4Associate Commissioner's Page

The following is the monthly message from JooYeun Chang, the Associate Commissioner of the Children's Bureau. Each message focuses on the current CBX Spotlight theme and highlights the Bureau's work on the topic.

As we launch into April, National Child Abuse Prevention Month, we take the time to remember the more than 6 million children who are brought to the attention of child protective services (CPS) each year. We also know that there are likely more vulnerable children and families who do not come to the attention of CPS. While data points to a steady decrease in child maltreatment substantiations since 2007, we know that there is more work to do, especially around the intersections across neglect, poverty, prevention, intervention, and treatment.

  • Of children with substantiated cases of child abuse and neglect, 78.3 percent of children were neglected.
  • Of child fatalities, 69.9 percent suffered neglect either exclusively or in combination with other maltreatment types.
  • One-year-olds had the highest rate of victimization rate at 21.9 per 1,000 children compared to children of all other ages (9.3 per 1,000).
  • Nearly three-quarters (70.3 percent) of all child fatalities were younger than 3 years.

We know that child maltreatment and poverty are critical issues in this country for our children. The poverty rate among children is higher than for any other group in the United States. Studies have shown that maltreatment and other adverse childhood experiences increase the risk for negative mental and physical outcomes in adulthood and place children at risk for further harm and even death. But, we also know that effective early prevention efforts are less costly to our nation and to individuals than trying to fix the adverse effects of child maltreatment. By ensuring that parents and communities have the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to care for their children, we can help promote children's social and emotional well-being and prevent child maltreatment within families and communities.

The Children's Bureau has been investing in a number of research and demonstration projects to generate knowledge around effective practices and programs focused on prevention, early intervention, and the front-end of child welfare. Some of these initiatives releasing final reports in the upcoming year include:

  • Supporting Evidence-Based Home Visiting to Prevent Child Maltreatment – This national evaluation examined the strategies used by 17 organizations in 15 States supported as part of an initiative funded to determine the most critical factors in supporting the implementation of home-visiting models with fidelity, consistent with how the models were intended to be delivered to families with young children. The evaluation also looked at infrastructure-building activities conducted and the role that local and State collaborations play in the replication, scale-up, and sustainability of these models. The full report will soon be available here: 
  • Rigorous Evaluations of Existing Prevention Programs (REECAPP) – In 2009, the Children's Bureau initiated the REECPP grant program. Awards were made to conduct randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of four well established community based child abuse and neglect prevention programs, including home-visiting and parenting programs, located in three regions across the United States. Over the past 5 years, extensive pilot work for each trial was conducted, and participants were recruited, randomized, and followed across time. Findings from each of the studies will be available later this year and help to build the research base on the effectiveness of programs that aim to prevent child abuse and neglect.
  • Quality Improvement Center on Differential Response (QIC-DR) – The QIC-DR was funded in 2008 with the goal of generating and disseminating knowledge on differential response (DR) as a system reform in CPS systems. The QIC-DR supported three research and demonstration sites to implement and evaluate the implementation and outcomes of differential response (DR). Each local evaluation employed random assignment of families, which allowed for a rigorous evaluation design. A multimethod approach that included child welfare administrative data, focus groups, family and caseworker surveys, was developed to answer the research questions. This month, the final report from the QIC-DR cross-site evaluation will be published. The findings of the cross-site report add considerably to the current knowledge base on differential response in four key areas: parent engagement, service provision, child safety, and cost. The results highlight the complexity of the work and systems change efforts in CPS systems.  More information is available here:
  • Quality Improvement Center on Early Childhood (QIC-EC) – The QIC-EC was funded in 2008 to promote the development, dissemination, and integration of new knowledge about how collaborative interventions increase protective factors and decrease risk factors to achieve optimal child development, increased family strengths, and decreased likelihood of child maltreatment within families of young children at high risk for child maltreatment. The QIC-EC funded four research and demonstration projects that targeted families of young children (0–2 years) with diverse risk factors for child maltreatment.  Each innovative project tested a different evidence-based or evidence-informed intervention that incorporated supporting parents to build parental resilience, social connections, knowledge of parenting and child development, concrete support in times of need, and children's social and emotional competence—as well as nurturing and attachment as an independent factor. Findings from the QIC-EC and the four research and demonstration projects will share their findings in the November 2014 issue of the Zero to Three Journal. The final cross-site evaluation report will be available in late summer 2014. More information is available here:

Each of these projects will present findings from their work at our 19th National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect in New Orleans, April 30–May 2, 2014.  For more information, please visit:

We look forward to connecting with you in New Orleans!