April is the month each year when we focus attention on the more than 700,000 identified child victims of abuse and neglect each year. These children are only a fraction of the total number who are harmed each year by adults responsible for their care--the majority of children who are abused and neglected never come to the attention of the child protection system. The picture below was taken from the Fourth National Incidence Study of Abuse and Neglect (NIS-4), published in 2010.
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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Children's Bureau, Office on Child Abuse and Neglect, its Child Welfare Information Gateway, and the FRIENDS National Resource Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention created a resource guide that is a good starting place for information about preventing child abuse by supporting parents and families. Strengthening Families and Communities: 2011 Resource Guide provides research-based information on the five protective factors that promote resilience in families and children and reduce abuse and neglect:

  • nurturing and attachment, 
  • knowledge of parenting and of child and youth development, 
  • parental resilience, 
  • social connections, 
  • concrete supports for parents.

Preventing child abuse saves lives, prevents crime, and saves money. These benefits and more are discussed in my op-ed, If you Want to Prevent Crime, Work to Prevent Child Abuse, published March 31, 2011, in the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange

For more information on Child Abuse Prevention month activities and resources, see Prevent Child Abuse America.