In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released, Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect: A Technical Package for Policy, Norm and Programmatic Activities, which suggests several strategies and approaches needed to prevent child maltreatment.


Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect

Strengthen economic supports to families
  • Strengthening household financial security
  • Family-friendly work policies
Potential Outcomes:

  • Improvements in children’s health, development and health insurance coverage
  • Reductions in physical abuse and neglect of children
  • Reductions in maternal depression and parental stress
  • Reductions in adolescent risky health behaviors
  • Reductions in chronic disease among adults and leading causes of death
Change social norms to support parents and positive parenting
  • Public engagement and education campaigns
  • Legislative approaches to reduce corporal punishment
Potential Outcomes:

  • Increase in public support for children- and family-friendly polices
  • Reduction in reported use of corporal punishment
  • Reduction in beliefs that getting help for parenting is bad
  • Increase in seeking help for parenting
  • Increase in public awareness of factors that can inhibit or promote healthy child development
Provide quality care and education early in life
  • Preschool enrichment with family engagement
  • Improved quality of child care through licensing and accreditation
Potential Outcomes:

  • Reduced encounters with child welfare services; lower rates of out-of-home placement
  • Reduced physical and sexual violence against children
  • Higher rates of high school completion, college attendance and more years of completed education, lower drop-out rates
  • Lower rates of juvenile arrests, felony arrests and incarceration
  • Higher rates of full-time employment
Enhance parenting skills to promote healthy child development
  • Early childhood home visitation
  • Parenting skill and family relationship approaches
Potential Outcomes:

  • Reduction in child abuse and neglect perpetration
  • Reductions in risk factors for child abuse and neglect (e.g. parental substance use, criminal involvement, child behavioral problems)
  • Fewer emergency room visits and hospital stays
  • Reductions in use of welfare
  • Reductions in criminal behavior
  • Reductions in youth substance use and arrests
Intervene to lessen harms and prevent future risk
  • Enhanced primary care
  • Behavioral parent training programs
  • Treatment to lessen harms of abuse and neglect exposure
  • Treatment to prevent problem behavior and later involvement in violence
Potential Outcomes:

  • Fewer delayed immunizations
  • Reductions in abuse and neglect perpetration
  • Reductions in short- and long-term trauma-related symptoms of the child
  • Reductions in parental depression, emotional distress and substance abuse
  • Decreased number of and time spent in out-of-home placements
  • Reductions in re-offending


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Division of Violence Prevention