Discussion Reply to 3

Reply to these three students’ discussion. Other instructions are attached.
Student 1: How should we work to prevent child maltreatment? (In other words, what strategies may be effective in meeting the goals of preventing child abuse and neglect and promoting child well-being?)
Child maltreatment is preventable and is important because child maltreatment leads to negative short and long-term consequences. Child maltreatment prevention can be divided into three categories: primary, secondary, and tertiary (Geiger & Schelbe, 2021). Primary prevention is services aimed broadly at the general population, secondary prevention is services targeted to populations at higher risk for maltreatment, and tertiary prevention are services for families already affected by maltreatment. Child maltreatment can also be divided into universal and targeted prevention efforts (Schelbe, 2022). Universal prevention is available for everyone but does not take risk factors into consideration. Targeted prevention focuses on specific individuals or communities at risk for child maltreatment. Single parents, frequent community violence, and poverty are risk factors for child maltreatment.
There are several effective prevention interventions that show a reduction in child abuse and risk factors. Some effective prevention intervention programs are home visiting, parenting education, public education and awareness, professional practice reforms, and community prevention (Institute of Medicine and National Research Council, 2014). Home visiting is when a professional visits the home before or after the mother has given birth. The professional answers any questions the parent or family may have provided support and makes referrals as needed. Home visiting programs that engage with families who have older children have shown to reduce depressive symptoms, parental stress, and life stress. Parenting programs help parents increase their knowledge on child development, enhance care, promote positive parent-child interaction, address discipline and behavior management, and much more (Institute of Medicine and National Research Council, 2014). Public education programs focus on raising awareness of child maltreatment and enhancing the public’s understanding of behaviors that cause abuse and its impact on a child’s well-being. Professional practice reforms help educate different professions on child maltreatment and disseminate the knowledge they learn. Community prevention focuses on making communities more child and family-friendly and nurturing environments for all children (Institute of Medicine and National Research Council, 2014).
Child abuse and neglect continue to be significant concerns. However, we are able to prevent it. There are several programs that have been successful, such as home visiting programs, parenting education, public education and awareness, professional practice reforms, and community prevention (Institute of Medicine and National Research Council, 2014). One of the most important things in preventing child abuse is ensuring many resources available to families. There may be a lack of funding in certain areas where prevention programs are unavailable, or there may be limited access to the resources, such as living in a rural community. Programs that prevent child abuse may help stop the cycle of abuse where an abused child may grow up to be a perpetrator. Early intervention programs may also be beneficial in stopping the cycle of abuse. I enjoyed reading the poem written by J. Malins because it stressed that instead of waiting to intervene after something terrible has happened, we should work on preventing it from occurring (Malins, 1895).
Geiger, J. M., & Schelbe, L. (2021). The handbook on child welfare practice. Springer Nature Switzerland AG.
Institute of Medicine and National Research Council. (2014). New Directions in Child Abuse and Neglect Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/18331 (Links to an external site.).
Malins, J. (1895). ‘The ambulance down in the valley.’ https://canvas.fsu.edu/courses/214091/pages/module-4?module_item_id=4158883
Schelbe, L. S. (2022). Child Maltreatment & Child Welfare Module 4 [PowerPoint slides]. College of Social Work, Florida State University. https://canvas.fsu.edu/courses/214091/pages/module-4?module_item_id=4158883
Student 2: How should we work to prevent child maltreatment?
The prevention of child maltreatment seems like a daunting task and at times feels like the services put in place when children come into the child protection system are just Band-Aids and temporary fixes. While crisis intervention is important to keep children safe and to prevent further harm to the families, prevention strategies should begin in the early stages of the family development.
There are 10 protective factors identified by the Administration of Children and Families (ACF) which include: self- regulation, engagement in positive activities, caring adults in the child’s life, development of parenting skills, positive peer relationships, positive school and community environments, social and relationship skills, and economic opportunities (Geiger & Schelbe, 2021). Addressing and developing these protective factors from the beginning of the family life cycle is important in the prevention of child maltreatment and should be the basis of prevention programs. As demonstrated in the stories of the babies downstream being pulled out of the water and the Ambulance in the Valley (Malins, 1985), addressing the problem at the source is more effective than trying to manage the crisis after it has happened.
Some strategies that have been proven effective to prevent child- maltreatment are in- home supports for new mothers and prenatal and infant care that included community connections to resources (Geiger & Schelbe, 2021). Research shows that evidence-based interventions at the community level, including interventions that target pregnant women and parents with infants, have been successful in reducing risk factors for child maltreatment and increasing protective factors for prevention (National Academies of Science Engineering Medicine, 2014). Some already existing programs include visiting nurses, WIC, Early Intervention Programs, and Early Headstart programs.
Without their basic needs met, such as shelter, food, warmth, and healthcare, families will experience heightened stress and are more likely to be involved in the child protective services. While programs exist to address these basic needs, it is often stigmatized and difficult to access. Universal Healthcare would provide everyone with access to healthcare and would make it more likely for parents to seek medical care for themselves and their children. Healthcare centers should be accessible to all who need them and could be an access point to other resources, including food pantries, housing resources, parenting education and support, and treatment of mental health and substance use disorders. Supporting healthcare reform policies and normalizing use of community resources for all families would be a good start to the prevention of child maltreatment.
Child maltreatment may never be solved in the United Stated, but so much of it can be prevented with preventative measures that remove the stressors of poverty and homelessness and helps people of all stages of life become connected to their communities.
Geiger, J. M., & Schelbe, L. (2021). The Handbook on Child Welfare Practice. Cham, Switzerland: Springer.
Malins, J. (1985). The Amubulance Down in the Valley.
National Academies of Science Engineering Medicine. (2014). New Direction in Child Abuse and Neglect.
Student 3: It is essential to support families before maltreatment occurs to prevent child maltreatment. According to Geiger & Schelbe (2021), maltreatment prevention can be divided into three categories. The first category is Primary Prevention. Primary prevention is also known as universal prevention because it includes services for the population and community as a whole (Geiger & Schelbe, 2021). In this week’s PowerPoint presentation Dr. Schelbe (2022) explains that primary prevention strategies could be public service announcements, for example, the Safe Sleep campaign or drowning prevention campaigns that are made available to everyone. The second category is secondary prevention. Secondary prevention is geared toward specific groups that are at a higher for child maltreatment (Geiger & Schelbe, 2021). Geiger & Schelbe (2021) mention that some of these risk factors are things like poverty, young parent age, substance misuse, and mental health in parents. Some intervention methods used in this category are parent education classes and home visit programs. These programs help educate parents and build support systems for families. These programs have been proven to be highly successful in reducing child maltreatment (Institute of Medicine and National Research Council, 2014). The final category is tertiary prevention. This category focuses on the families that have already been impacted by child maltreatment and work to reduce the effects of the maltreatment and prevent reoccurring maltreatment (Geiger & Schelbe, 2021). In this week’s PowerPoint, Dr. Schelbe made a statement that stuck with me when she said, “We need to make sure that children who were maltreated can heal so that the likelihood of their growing up and maltreating their children is reduced” (Schelbe, 2022). Preventing maltreatment plays a vital role in child wellbeing (Schelbe, 2022). It is essential to focus on prevention to help break the cycle, as demonstrated in Malins’s (1895) poem. We can prevent so much maltreatment if we are proactive instead of reactive.