Child Maltreatment and High Risk Families

By Julie Taylor; Anne Lazenbatt | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 6
Effective prevention and treatment
interventions

Introduction

Early intervention is needed to make lasting improvements in the
lives of our children, to forestall many persistent social problems
and end their transmission from one generation to the next, and to
make long-term savings in public spending (Allen, 2011a, p. viii)
.

As discussed in the introductory chapter, the high personal and public costs of child maltreatment make identification through effective early prevention programmes a high policy, practice and research priority. This final chapter brings together the evidence that highlights the extensive efforts to prevent and treat child maltreatment and shows how these have expanded considerably over the past three decades. We debate the use and effectiveness of a variety of approaches to prevent child abuse and neglect, including parent education, home visitation and several community-wide programmes. Home visiting is highlighted as one of the most popular approaches in preventing child maltreatment, and is the most cited for its potential. However, the chapter stresses that, although some promising maltreatment prevention strategies have been identified, research continues to suffer from a number of methodological limitations, thus limiting the knowledge of how prevention programmes impact on different forms of child abuse and neglect.

Again, as emphasised earlier, child maltreatment is a global public health and social problem and its prevalence translates into a significant economic burden to society, cutting across many different service sectors including child welfare, health and mental care, special education and criminal justice (Dozier et al., 2006; 2008). The major consensus from research is that child maltreatment has a significant impact on multiple and overlapping areas of development, beginning for the infant and child when the first trauma begins, and unless protective factors

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