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December/January 2020Vol. 20, No. 10Digital Dialog on Building Healthy Communities to Promote Child and Family Well-Being

A Digital Dialog from CANTASD (the Child Abuse and Neglect Technical Assistance and Strategic Dissemination Center), a service of the Children's Bureau within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, features presenters from the National Alliance of Children's Trust and Prevention Funds (the Alliance) who discuss the intersection of poverty and neglect. The Alliance is a membership organization that focuses on prevention by offering trainings, publications, and other supports to ensure broad audiences understand their roles in strengthening families and communities and preventing child abuse and neglect.

This Digital Dialog discusses the conceptualization of neglect as the intersection of parental neglect of children, societal neglect of families, community neglect of families, and societal neglect of community. Based on this, the Alliance created a theory of change and call to action that acknowledges the existence of child neglect, increases awareness of neglect, recognizes the consequences of inaction, embraces strategies that reduce the incidence and prevalence of neglect, intervenes and treats child neglect, and strengthens families.

The Alliance also identified the following risk factors that can lead to neglect:

  • History of trauma
  • Poverty and insufficient resources
  • Maternal depression/mental health issues
  • Substance use
  • Devaluing and minimizing challenges associated with raising children

While poverty and insufficient resources are often associated with neglect, most families living in poverty do not neglect their children. The Alliance determined the following to be effective ways to keep families living in poverty from being separated:

  • Provide families with a safety net to support them when they fall on hard times
  • Raise political awareness about poverty
  • Reframe issues and narratives in ways that reduce or eliminate polarization of the reactions to social problems
  • Move the discussion from incriminating parents to examining the context in which they are trying to raise their children safely

To listen to the Digital Dialog titled, "Building Healthy Communities to Promote Child and Family Well-Being," visit