• February 2020
  • Vol. 21, No. 1

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Promising Interventions to Prevent Severe Child Abuse

Current child welfare services may fall short of protecting children from severe maltreatment due to a variety of constraints, according to a report that finds there are few evidence-based practices for preventing fatalities and serious injuries. The report does acknowledge, however, that there are interventions and strategies that hold promise for reducing such tragedies, as well as opportunities for cross-system collaboration to prioritize prevention activities targeted to at-risk families.

The report lists strategies for preventing child fatalities and serious injuries, as well as interventions that should be considered for preventing such tragedies. It also looks at the following ways community and system design strategies can aid in child protection:

  • Identifying neighborhoods with the potentially most vulnerable children by using geographic analysis
  • Promoting community norms that encourage safe parenting
  • Enhancing community social supports
  • Improving income and housing supports
  • Providing parent coaching
  • Promoting agency-wide "cultures of safety"
  • Encouraging reasonable workload management
  • Requiring case consultation
  • Pairing child protective services investigators with nurses or other medical professionals
  • Offering access to telemedicine

The report points to the following strategies to protect children:

  • Enhancing the research base regarding high-risk families and what works to prevent maltreatment
  • Disseminate information about child safety practices and strategies
  • Developing a child welfare practice model for infants and toddlers
  • Improving understanding of the risk factors associated with severe maltreatment

The report Evidence-Based and Promising Interventions for Preventing Child Fatalities and Severe Child Injuries Related to Child Maltreatment is available at https://www.upbring.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Evidence_based_and_Promising_042617.pdf (1,620 KB).

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