We all have a role in preparing children to become healthy, thriving members of our community. Help all families and children succeed by growing a better tomorrow, together.
Children who suffer from the repeated stress of abuse and neglect tend to struggle in their behavioral, physical, and cognitive abilities.1 These early trauma effects often continue through generations. As of 2020, more than 3 million children received either a child protective services investigation or alternative response, with over 600,000 children being victims of abuse or neglect.2 More specifically, a 2017 study found that 53% of all black children experience a child welfare investigation by age 18.3 Now is the time to create positive childhood experiences that enable families and communities to thrive.
All families are unique and need support sometimes. More importantly, seeking support does not equate to weakness. We can all help by ensuring families have the resources they need, when they need them. We can start by focusing on positive ways to engage families and deliver economic and concrete supports4 throughout our community.
These include equitable access to:
- Safe Shelter
- Medical Care
- Paid Leave
- Quality Education
- Home Visiting Programs
- Legal Services/Representation
By implementing proactive policies and services today that target these economic and concrete supports, we can have a positive impact in the present rather than addressing consequences after a child grows up. Voluntary home visiting programs, such as Healthy Families America (HFA), promote positive parenting, enhance child health and development, and prevent child abuse and neglect. Every $1 invested in HFA produces an estimated $1.46 in benefits for families and society.5 These benefits include increases in positive parenting practices, child health, economic self-sufficiency, child development and school readiness, maternal health, linkages and referrals, and a decrease in child maltreatment, juvenile delinquency, family violence, and crime.
Programs like HFA help us address societal inequities and injustices that should be called out and corrected. All children and families thrive when communities focus on addressing root causes that lead to inequity and injustice. Strategies that promote equitable, healthy environments include4 meeting the needs of children and families of color, supporting the whole family, serving all children and families in need through a lens of equity, and dismantling racist and discriminatory past injustices and policies that have historically produced disadvantages and disparities,.
Creating communities where equity and justice are the norm is possible and the best time to plant these seeds is now. Children and families, our greatest natural resource, can have a successful future—in the face of childhood adversity. We all have a role in preparing children to grow up to be healthy and thriving members of our community. Better tomorrows can start today, and they begin here at www.preventchildabuse.org.
- Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2019). Long-term consequences of child abuse and neglect. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children's Bureau. Available from https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/factsheets/long-term-consequences/.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau. (2022). Child Maltreatment 2020. Available from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/cb/data-research/child-maltreatment.
- Kim, Hyunil, et al. Lifetime prevalence of investigating child maltreatment among US children. (2017). American Journal of Public Health, vol. 107, no. 2, pp. 274–280., https://doi.org/10.2105/ajph.2016.303545.
- Minoff, Elisa et al. What we owe young children: An anti-racist policy platform for early childhood. (2020). Center for the Study of Social Policy. Available from https://cssp.org/resource/what-we-owe-young-children/.
- Healthy Families America. Evidence of Effectiveness. (2021). Available from https://www.healthyfamiliesamerica.org/our-impact/evidence-of-effectiveness/.