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April 2021Vol. 22, No. 4The Effectiveness of the Safe Environment for Every Kid Prevention Model

Since funding for child maltreatment prevention is often limited, cost assessments can help agencies and organizations determine how to allocate funds. A recent article in Child Abuse & Neglect assessed the cost effectiveness of the Safe Environment for Every Kid (SEEK) child maltreatment prevention model.

SEEK is a primary care-based intervention that involves training primary care providers, screening parents, assessing identified problems, and referring families to community agencies.

To analyze cost-effectiveness, researchers studied 102 pediatric providers at 18 pediatric primary care practices. The practices and their providers were randomly asked to either implement the SEEK method or continue their usual care. To evaluate results, researchers recruited 924 families with children who have been receiving care from these providers for fewer than 6 years.

Researchers collected data over a period of 2.5 years on the cost of implementing SEEK, including salaries for team members, provider time for training, and materials as well as the rate and cost of maltreatment incidents.

The results showed that the SEEK method is cost-effective. It cost $265,852 to implement SEEK for 2.5 years in intervention practices, and an estimated 870 cases were averted. For every 34 children exposed to SEEK, one episode of maltreatment was prevented, meaning the cost of preventing one incident by implementing SEEK was $305.58.

Each maltreatment incident cost an estimated $2,779 per child for medical and mental health treatment. Therefore, implementation of SEEK would save an estimated $2,151,878 for a population of 29,610 over 2.5 years. The researchers concluded that the cost savings are a strong argument for integrating SEEK into well-child care.

To learn more, read "Cost Effectiveness of SEEK: A Primary Care-Based Child Maltreatment Prevention Model."