Photo Home
Who We Are
Research & Policy

> Collaboration
> Establishing a Continuum of Care
> Policing
> Schools
> Child Protective Services
> Treatment Partnerships

News Room

  Free To Grow
  Mailman School
  of Public Health
  Columbia University
  722 West 168th Street,
  8th Floor
  New York, NY 10032

green corner
NOTE: as of April 17, 2007, the Free to Grow program has closed.
image image image family partners Community

Strengthening Families Through Early Care and Education
Child Protective Services: Child Abuse

left_corner More Information left_corner

> Strengthening Families Through Early Care and Education

> Protecting children by strengthening families

> Executive Summary - Advancing Child Abuse and Neglect Protective Factors

> Early Childhood Educators and Child Abuse Prevention

Center for the Study of Social Policy

Developed by the Center for the Study of Social Policy in 2001, the Strengthening Families Through Early Care and Education initiative demonstrates how early childhood programs can help prevent child abuse and neglect.  The approach builds upon  evidence-based protective factors for children and their families by:


         Building the approach on the early childhood education system.

         Focusing on identifying risks while also building protections for children within their homes and communities.

         Seeking to overcome or mitigate manageable individual causes of child neglect and abuse, such as:parental isolation, lack of knowledge about child development, and mental, physical or financial crisis in the family.


Quality early care and education programs incorporate program strategies that facilitate friendships and mutual support, strengthen parenting, respond to family crises, link families to service and opportunities, facilitate children's social and emotional development, observe and respond to early warning signs of child abuse and neglect and value and support parents. These program strategies can build the following protective factors which prevent child abuse and neglect:  parental resilience, social connections, knowledge of parenting and child development, concrete support in times of need and social and emotional competence of children.  


(Adapted from information on the website of the Center for the Study of Social Policy, 2004,,and used with permission of the Center for the Study of Social Policy)


Recent research that examined the relationship between early childhood programs and child abuse and neglect found that preschool participants had a 52 percent lower rate of court petitions of maltreatment by age 17 than children in the comparison group. Researchers believe that the family support services of the early childhood programs: parental involvement in the classroom, vocational and educational training, and home visits from a school-community representative, were one of the two factors that best explain why this reduction in child maltreatment occurred.

(Excerpted from "Protective Factors Literature Review: early care and education programs and the prevention of child abuse and neglect," September 2003, p. 6, and used with permission of the Center for the Study of Social Policy)

left_corner   Story for Strategy   right_corner

> Children Who Prosper in Unfavorable Environments: The Relationship to Social Capital

> School-Based Early Intervention and Later Child Maltreatment in the Chicago Longitudinal Study

> Protective Factors Literature Review



copyright 2008 Free To Grow
Free To Grow is a national program supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation with direction and technical assistance provided by the Mailman School of Public Health of Columbia University.