• April 2004
  • Vol. 5, No. 3

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Building a Nation of Strong Families: Family Support and Prevention

In an effort to help State and local programs infuse family support principles into their prevention strategies and improve outcomes for children and families, Family Support America recently released a monograph, Building a Nation of Strong Families: Family Support and Prevention. This document offers child abuse and neglect prevention program standards originally developed by the New Jersey Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect. The standards, applicable to programs throughout the United States, recognize that efforts to reduce child abuse and neglect are most successful when services and supports embody a strengths-based, family support approach that builds on assets and positive characteristics of families and their environment.

The working group that developed these standards reviewed literature on effective prevention programs from multiple fields including child welfare, public health, juvenile justice, substance abuse, and mental health to identify conceptual standards, practice standards, and administrative standards for effective programs. Family Support America has repackaged these standards so that other States may benefit from New Jersey's work.

Suggested practical applications include:

  • Requiring that grantees seeking State funding adhere to the standards.
  • Applying language from the standards to mission statements and written materials for State agencies and their programs.
  • Building the standards into evaluation and review processes for State agencies and the programs they administer.
  • Using the standards to educate legislators and decision-makers as they develop policy and provide support to prevention programs.
  • Offering the standards as a resource to help individuals, families, and community members who use prevention services determine which services are most effective.

Building a Nation of Strong Families: Family Support and Prevention is a powerful tool for advancing a family support approach to the prevention of child abuse and neglect across all systems, in all States. The document can be downloaded from the Family Support America website at www.familysupportamerica.org/downloads/FinalNJDoc11-14-03.pdf (Editors note: Link no longer active).

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