Best Practices

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Best Practices

Child abuse and neglect is a thorny problem, but there are programs that have been proven successful in reducing abuse and neglect, and reading about them may provide youth service workers with ideas about how to develop programs in their own areas. Examples of successful programs are listed on the websites of Prevent Child Abuse America and the Promising Practices Network

 Many of the successful programs share common factors such as parental involvement, family support, and education in positive parenting practices. For instance, Healthy Families New York provides intensive home visitation services to the families of children believed at risk for abuse or neglect. The program enrolls expectant parents and those with a child under three months old, and provides educational, support, and referral services until the child enrolls in Head Start or kindergarten or reaches 5 years of age. In a randomized trial involving more than 1,000 participants, mothers enrolled in HFNY were found to be less likely to engage in abusive, harsh or neglectful parenting, and were more likely to use positive parenting skills. 

The Family Thriving Program (FTP) helps parents understand the relationship between themselves and their children, using cognitive reframing during home visits to help parents find alternative ways to think about problems, and to help them find solutions. FTP has been applied as an enhancement to the Healthy Start home visitation program, with parents at risk for child maltreatment, and has been shown to result in fewer instances of harsh parenting, fewer reports of child abuse and high child health. 

The Chicago Child-Parent Centers (CPC) provide educational and family support for economically disadvantaged children (up to age 8) and their families, with parents required to volunteer at least one half-day per week at the CPC. A 19-year longitudinal study comparing more than 1,500 low-income, minority (95 percent African-American, 5 percent Hispanic) children in CPC programs with 389 children participating in a full-day kindergarten program for low-income students found that CPC children were less likely to experience child abuse or neglect, had superior educational outcomes and were less likely to be involved in the criminal justice system.