Saturday, October 03, 2009

Recommended Reading - A Prevention Perspective

Recommended weekend reading from The Future of Children, via MCH Alert:
The Fall 2009 issue of The Future of Children Journal presents research on policies and programs designed to prevent maltreatment.

The issue, published by Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the Brookings Institution, examines the gradual shift in the field of child maltreatment toward a "prevention perspective" and explores how insights into the risk factors for maltreatment can help target prevention efforts to the most vulnerable children and families.

Contributors assess whether a range of specific programs, such as community-wide interventions, parenting programs, home-visiting programs, treatment programs for parents with drug and alcohol problems, and school-based educational programs on sexual abuse, can prevent maltreatment.

They also explore how child protection system agencies, traditionally seen as protecting children who are maltreated from further abuse and neglect, might take a more active role in prevention.

The full-text issue, executive summary,policy briefs, and article summaries are available at

The lead article describes progress towards the notion of preventing inflicted harm, instead of dealing with the consequences...
Progress toward a Prevention Perspective - Summary Link
Matthew W. Stagner, Jiffy Lansing
Preventing Child Maltreatment Volume 19 Number 2 Fall 2009

Matthew Stagner and Jiffy Lansing chart developments in the field of child maltreatment and propose a new framework for preventing child abuse and neglect. They begin by describing the concept of investment-prevention as it has been applied recently in fields such as health care and welfare. They then explain how the new framework applies to maltreatment prevention, noting in particular how it differs from the traditional child protective services response to maltreatment.

Whereas the traditional response aims to prevent a recurrence of maltreatment once it has already taken place, the new framework focuses on preventing maltreatment from occurring at all.

Rather than identifying risk factors for maltreatment and addressing the problems and deficiencies of the primary caretaker, the new framework focuses on strengthening protective factors and building family and social networks to reinforce the ability of parents to care for their children.

Whereas the orientation of the traditional child welfare service approach is legal and medical, the new framework has a more developmental and ecological orientation. It aims to build on the strengths children have at particular points of the life stage and enhance the social context of the child.

Rather than putting families into the hands of unknown professionals who shuffle them from one program to another, including foster care, the investment-prevention model seeks to integrate professionals and paraprofessionals from the family’s community into their everyday life, as well as to ensure an interconnected system of services.

Finally, rather than seeking to minimize harm to the child, it aims to maximize potential—to strengthen the capacity of parents and communities to care for their children in ways that promote well-being.
Friends of Children events:

FOC Briefing, Preventing Child Maltreatment,Washington, DC, October 1st. Link

FOC, Policy Research Institute for the Region, and ACNJ present "Preserving Programs that Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect During a Time of Economic Crisis: A Research and Policy Conference," at Princeton University, November 13th. Link


Future of Children Author Testifies on Home Visitation Programs

Deborah Daro testified on June 9, 2009, before the U.S. House of Representatives Income Security and Family Support Subcommittee about research that shows home visitation programs can promote early childhood learning and strengthen parent-child relationships. Link to testimony