Preventing child maltreatment

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Scholarly level: 
Final version published as: 

Schwartz, C., Barican, J., Yung, D., Gray-Grant, D., & Waddell, C. (2018). Preventing child maltreatment. Children’s Mental Health Research Quarterly, 12(3), 1–16. Vancouver, BC: Children’s Health Policy Centre, Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University.

Date created: 

Background: All children need safety, stability and nurturing in order to flourish. Yet many children experience maltreatment, including neglect, emotional abuse, exposure to intimate partner violence, physical abuse or sexual abuse. Consequently, effective interventions to prevent maltreatment are crucial.

Methods: We used systematic review methods to identify randomized control trials (RCTs) evaluating interventions designed to prevent child maltreatment.  Applying our inclusion criteria to the 43 studies identified from our searches, we accepted three RCTs.

Results: We found strong evidence showing two programs — Child FIRST and Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) — were successful in preventing child maltreatment. NFP, which targets key risk factors for maltreatment, including socio-economic disadvantage resulted particularly strong benefits, including reducing families’ involvement with child protective services as well as reducing child behaviour problems and improving mothers’ life circumstances. 

Conclusions: The success of NFP and Child FIRST provides evidence that child maltreatment can be prevented.

You are free to copy, distribute and transmit this work under the following conditions: You must give attribution to the work (but not in any way that suggests that the author endorses you or your use of the work); You may not use this work for commercial purposes; You may not alter, transform, or build upon this work. Any further uses require the permission of the rights holder (or author if no rights holder is listed). These rights are based on the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License.