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February 2021Vol. 22, No. 2Keeping Families Strong and Together: Prevention Strategies in Child Welfare

The winter 2020 edition of Insights highlights child welfare's role in child maltreatment prevention during the pandemic and beyond and the importance of community supports in strengthening families so they can remain together safely.

The issue features a framework for prevention from the Office of Child Abuse Prevention within the California Department of Social Services that defines and addresses prevention with a public health perspective to "create an integrated statewide system that supports families to provide safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments for their children." The framework is based on three tiers of prevention:

  • Primary prevention. The goal of primary prevention is to keep all families strong and together by raising awareness about the scope of and problems associated with child maltreatment.
  • Secondary prevention. The goal of secondary prevention is to provide targeted supports to further strengthen families that have been or are at risk of becoming involved with child welfare.
  • Tertiary prevention. The goal of tertiary prevention is to mitigate child and family trauma by reducing the negative consequences of maltreatment, preventing recurrence, and helping families build on their strengths.

The issue also provides key data and trends on child maltreatment and disparities in maltreatment occurrence, including information about implicit bias and systemic racism. Also included is information about how community supports—such as family resource centers, federally qualified health centers, and family justice centers—and protective factors are key to strengthening families and keeping them safely together during this unprecedented time and in the future.