Despite recent progress in cracking down on child abuse, millions of people continue to be referred to services in the United States every year, according to industry figures.
Statistics from the U.S. child protective services show more than 75 per cent of abuse cases involve neglect. And the problem isn’t going away. The number of abuse cases increased nine per cent between 2011 and 2015. Those figures, from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System, are astounding.
Prevention programs have been introduced to combat the growing issue. From public-awareness campaigns to family support systems — from community prevention strategies to parent education — the network stretches extensively.
Groups like the Child Welfare Information Gateway and the Centre for Disease control have created best strategies for preventing abuse, which can often end inter-generational violence and eliminates years of suffering.
Triple P — Positive Parenting Program
Supporting families with children up to the age of 16, the Positive Parenting Program is a successful prevention strategy, according to Child Welfare Information Gateway. Founded by professor Matt Sanders, Triple P is used in nearly two dozen countries, including England, Canada, New Zealand, Japan and Iran.
The program, which has been translated into 21 languages, is an important part of prevention, particularly among groups who rely heavily on evidence-based practices when supporting programs to best protect children, the Information Gateway explained.
The organization describes Triple P as a program that aims to “foster positive family environments by building parenting skills and confidence.”
The program aims to have fewer hospitalizations or emergency room visits because of abuse, fewer children removed from their homes and few cases of abuse, which would reduce injuries, hospital visits and out-of-home placements.communities.
Most organizations recognize the need for evidence-based programs, which is also outlined by the Centre for Disease Control in its child-abuse prevention strategy.
The document aims to help U.S. states and communities identify evidence-based programs, which range from a focus on individuals, families, and relationships, to broader community and societal change.
“This range of strategies is needed to better address the interplay between individual-family behavior and broader neighborhood, community, and cultural contexts,” the CDC explains.
The centre’s document outlines a list of supports:
- Strengthen economic supports for families
- Change social norms to support parents and positive parenting
- Provide quality care and education early in life
- Enhance parenting skills to promote healthy child development
- Intervene to lessen harms and prevent future risk
As Child Abuse Prevention Month continues throughout April, many groups are spreading the word about the importance of prevention and the strategies to get there.
Governments around the world are realizing child abuse prevention only comes with a robust network of programs that include significant support for the individuals, families and surrounding communities.