Pilot CWS-R-SAP – v. 2 Redesigned System, 3. Preface

Pilot Child Welfare System Redesign

Strategic Action Plan

 

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3. Preface

 

“Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.”

– John F. Kennedy

 

Child abuse and neglect can have devastating and long-lasting effects on a child and can result in detrimental societal impacts, including high costs for services and increased involvement in the juvenile and criminal justice systems. However, communities can act to stem the effects of maltreatment and even prevent it.[1]

 

Evidence-based services and supports can promote protective factors that mitigate the effects of maltreatment as well as provide families and communities with the tools to stop maltreatment before it occurs. Child welfare agencies can work with families and communities to spearhead initiatives that build upon strengths and address needs.[2]

 

By reducing the incidence of child abuse and neglect through primary prevention approaches and providing comprehensive, trauma-informed care when it does occur, communities can limit the long-term consequences of child trauma. In trauma-informed care, service professionals acknowledge a child’s history of trauma and how that trauma can have an impact on the symptoms—or consequences—being experienced by the child.[3]

 

Communities can ensure that public and private agencies have the tools—such as assessments, evidence-informed interventions, and properly trained staff—to provide children and their families with timely, appropriate care to prevent child abuse and neglect and alleviate its effects.[4]

 

Communities can also promote a variety of protective factors for children. Protective factors are conditions or attributes of individuals, families, communities, or society that promote well-being and reduce the risk for negative outcomes, including the long-term consequences. Communities working together in the best interests of the child can “buffer” the effects of maltreatment.[5]

 

Protective Factors

Research shows the following are protective factors for victims of child maltreatment:[6]

 

Individual Level

  • Sense of purpose
  • Agency (self-efficacy)
  • Self-regulation skills
  • Relational skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Involvement in positive activities

 

Relationship Level

  • Parenting competencies
  • Positive peers
  • Parent or caregiver well-being

 

Community Level

  • Positive school environment
  • Stable living situation
  • Positive community environment

 

Trauma-informed approaches can help improve outcomes for individuals affected by toxic stress, and there is evidence that social and emotional support (e.g., consistent parenting practices, community supports) can alleviate its effects.[7]

 

[1] Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2019). Long-term consequences of child abuse and neglect. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children’s Bureau.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2015). Promoting protective factors for victims of child abuse and neglect: A guide for practitioners. Retrieved from https://www. childwelfare.gov/pubs/factsheets/victimscan/

[4] Ibid.

[5] Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2015). Promoting protective factors for victims of child abuse and neglect: A guide for practitioners. Retrieved from https://www. childwelfare.gov/pubs/factsheets/victimscan/

[6] Ibid.

[7] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families. (2017). Toxic stress. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/trauma-toolkit/toxic-stress

 

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To submit questions or comments, please email Jo@Jo-Calk.com. I welcome all input, ideas, and suggestions. Thank you for caring for children.

Blessings,

Jo Calk