Child Maltreatment Prevention

By Rachel Dorman, MS

Today’s blog focuses on prevention of child maltreatment through a community-based approach, as recommended by the 2014 Prevention Resource Guide: Making Meaningful Connections. This guide was developed through collaboration between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Children’s Bureau, the FRIENDS National Resource Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention, and the Center for the Study of Social Policy. The resource guide adopts Strengthening Families and Youth Thrive’s five protective factors for young children and adds one additional factor, for a total of six protective factors. These six protective factors for young children are: nurturing and attachment, parental resilience, social connections, knowledge of parenting and child development, concrete support in times of need, and social-emotional competence of children. Through these protective factors the guide outlines recommendations for communities and individuals who work with families to prevent child maltreatment and promote well-being.

Child's arm with the word "Help"
[Flickr, 271 365-Death Toll Rises to 100; Number of Displaced People Up to Over 450,000 by Helga Weber, CC BY-ND 2.0] Retrieved on September 23, 2015
The resource guide recommends that communities develop approaches to promote well-being through implementing protective factors. The first strategy of implementation that is recommended is a community café program, at which parents or community members can come together in an informal café environment to discuss concerns and share information about protective factors during a structured group discussion guided by questions. Another recommendation is for families to take the Strengthening Families self-assessment to identify areas a family can work together to strengthen their protective factors. Similarly, FRIENDS Protective Factors Survey is a recommended pre- and post-test for caregivers and agencies that are receiving child maltreatment training or services. The pre- and post-test will allow for agencies to measure improvement in implementation of the protective factors and provide feedback on how agencies can promote family protective factors. Lastly, the resource guide recommends for continuous learning and training through online resources. The online resources, such as FRIENDS Online Learning Center, provide tools and easily assessable around-the-clock education on implementing the protective factors.

Child covering her face
[Flickr, Psychiatric Help 5, by Ali Leila, CC BY-ND 2.0] Retrieved by September 23, 2015
In conjunction with recommendations for communities, the resource guide provides suggestions for individuals working with families. These suggestions are categorized by each protective factor, and include background information on the protective factor. Each category has information for professionals working with children on how programs can help their agency, the community, and families.  Also, each factor has a section where individuals are encouraged to engage and support parents through conversation; this section even includes suggested talking points.

The 2014 Prevention Resource Guide: Making Meaningful Connections is a great tool that targets communities, while also providing resources for individuals. If you are interested in looking more closely at the suggestions mentioned above or learning more about the 2014 Prevention Resource Guide: Making Meaningful Connections click here.

References

[1] Department of Health and Human Services: Administration for Children and Families. (2014). 2014 Prevention Resource Guide: Making Meaningful Connections. Washington, DC.

This post was written by Rachel Dorman, MS, a member of the MFLN Family Development (FD) team which aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network FD concentration on our website, on Facebook, on Twitter, YouTube, and on LinkedIn.

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