- February 2020
- Vol. 21, No. 1
Adopting a Public Health Approach for Maltreatment Prevention
A recent article in Child Abuse & Neglect discusses how maltreatment prevention efforts can benefit from a public health approach, which may be unfamiliar to those who have been trained in social work, psychology, or other disciplines that often focus on interventions for one family at a time or small groups. Given that many families affected by maltreatment are not currently involved with the child welfare system, communities using a public health approach can better reach those uninvolved families, as well as those at risk for maltreatment.
A public health approach can also help normalize the receipt of parenting support interventions. The author cites the popularity of childbirth classes as an example. Parents from all types of backgrounds attend these classes and do not appear to believe that class attendance is stigmatizing or indicates ignorance of pregnancy or childbirth. A public health approach could also help communities integrate other types of interventions into their initiatives, such as those related to housing, medical care, and substance use.
"Parenting and Family Support Within a Broad Child Abuse Prevention Strategy," by R. J. Prinz (Child Abuse & Neglect, 51), is available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4871147/.