KIPS Blog: Parenting Assessment in Practice & Research

Go Beyond Child Welfare; Support Child & Family Well-Being

Posted by Marilee Comfort on Sat, May 21, 2016 @ 04:45 PM

This blog was posted initially on HuffPost Parents on 05/02/2016 and is shared with permission.

Creating a 21st Century Child Well-Being System

Matthew Melmed 

Executive Director, ZERO TO THREE

International leader and advocate for infants

As National Child Abuse Prevention Month draws to a close, we take time to reflect on how we protect young children and make new plans to move forward. The final report of the Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities seems a fitting, though sorrowful, place to start.

According to the Commission’s report, between 1,500 and 3,000 children — three-quarters of them babies and preschool-age children — become fatalities each year as a result of maltreatment, ending short lives that never had a chance to blossom. In fact, more than 700,000 children experienced substantiated maltreatment in 2014, including 192,000 infants and toddlers who face long developmental odds because of this experience.

Encouragingly, the report calls for a new 21st Century Child Welfare System. We absolutely need such a system to replace the current dysfunctional one that fails to get to the heart of families’ problems and children’s well-being, but we shouldn’t stop there. We need a 21st Century Child Well-Being System - a system that includes child welfare and also offers a comprehensive and integrated system of services designed to proactively support families with young children to help them thrive. By addressing the needs of families before there is a crisis, we can work toward the goal of ultimately reducing the number of families that become involved with Child Protective Services.

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Tags: home visiting, child abuse/neglect prevention, family support-partnership-services, child well-being