This year, National Child Abuse Prevention Month, recognized in April, carries the theme, “Thriving Children and Families: Prevention with Purpose.” This sentiment emphasizes the importance of strategies that work to help parents and other caring adults provide safe, stable environments that help children reach their full potential.

In the opening of his Child Abuse Prevention Month proclamation, President Joe Biden recognizes the essential role community-based child abuse prevention programs play in preventing the mistreatment of children as well as working to advance equity. The proclamation goes on to note, “The purpose of community-based child abuse prevention programs is to support local efforts that strengthen and support families to reduce the likelihood of child abuse. These programs offer comprehensive assistance that improves family stabilization, while also fostering meaningful engagement with diverse populations to promote effective prevention strategies.”

Among its Child Abuse Prevention month tools, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration on Children has published the 2021-2022 Prevention Resource Guide. It highlights innovative prevention efforts being led around the country and addresses proven approaches including community collaboration, data use, two-generation programs, trauma-informed care, and more. This guide shines a spotlight on two efforts of the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities/Council on Accreditation (COA) to prevent child abuse and promote resilience in children and families. 

The guide highlights the Alliance/COA Change in Mind Institute for supporting organizations in infusing the latest research on brain development into policy, programs, and practice. Specifically, it calls out the strategies used by sites in the original Change in Mind learning collaborative to build communities’ capacity to work effectively on neuroscience-aligned systems and policy change—and ultimately call for systems change within and across the human services ecosystem. To continue to accelerate the application of brain science, the Change in Mind Institute recently announced the 10 sites selected for its Texas-focused learning collaborative.

The 20121-2022 Prevention Resource Guide also recognizes the Child Safety Forward Initiative. This three-year demonstration initiative supports five sites in developing and deploying a public health approach based on recommendations from the federal Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities. This initiative is funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office for Victims of Crime and the Within Our Reach Office at the Alliance/COA serves as the technical assistance provider. Learn more about the sites’ recently released implementation plans.

To support professionals and advocates in positioning and explaining the issue of childhood adversity, as well as the need for promoting upstream approaches, particularly with the public at large, the Alliance/COA and Prevent Child Abuse America worked with the FrameWorks Institute to issue a new brief with updated framing recommendations. At a high level, FrameWorks advises that childhood adversity must be framed as a public issue, a preventable problem, and a solvable problem. This brief discusses each of these recommendations, showing what it looks like and explaining how it helps. It also offers insight into some of the framing dilemmas and what not to communicate, and why. Download the brief online or watch the recording of a recent webinar for a guided tour of the recommendations from Julie Sweetland, senior advisor at FrameWorks.

As you recognize April as Child Abuse Prevention Month, make sure to share on social media. Supplement posts about your work with sample tweets and graphics from the Child Welfare Information Gateway.