The Future of Children: Preventing Child Maltreatment

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Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University

The investigations of the families of 1.86 million U.S. children for maltreatment by state agencies resulted in findings that 720,000 children were abused and neglected and more than 1,500 children died of abuse or neglect in 2007. Even these high numbers are underestimates, because officials know that not all maltreatment cases are reported to child protection systems.

This report covers possible prevention methods involving education, support groups, community programs, home visitation and individual or family therapy. While primary prevention – actually preventing the abuse – is difficult to carry out, as many cases of maltreatment are not reported, secondary prevention – preventing the child from being maltreated again – has been found to be more successful. These methods focus on strengthening protective factors, building social networks and creating awareness among families and communities, as well as receiving professional help.

Free, 216 pages.