Spotlight On Partnering to Develop Community-Based Prevention Services

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2023 Spotlight on Header

Partnering to Develop Community-Based Prevention Services

Maltreatment Stat Updated

National Child Abuse Prevention Month gives us an opportunity to reflect on what we can each do to unleash our inner change agents. Moving toward transformative practice requires shifting mental models about prevention, working across sectors to address inequities, and partnering with people with lived experience.

From state agencies and jurisdictions to partnering organizations and child welfare professionals, everyone has a role in uplifting a community-driven vision for prevention. Consider what steps you can take to understand how young people and families define prevention in your community and how priorities drive your agency’s vision for prevention. Moving the needle for young people and families will require intentional partnership with individuals with lived expertise, sharing power to implement community-driven prevention services, and seeing ourselves as individual and collective agents of change.

Family well-being is more than the absence of abuse and neglect—how can child welfare support equitable and just community-based prevention services and economic supports to help families thrive?

Community-Driven Strategies for Prevention

States, agencies, and jurisdictions can employ a variety of community-driven strategies for prevention and promote a culture of cross-service collaboration. The following are examples of primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention strategies to help families thrive.

  • Primary prevention strategy experts, including those with lived experience, commonly recommend direct economic support or financial assistance[1],[2],[3]. Poverty is a significant driver of involvement within the child welfare system[3]. Program and policy solutions, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit or Universal Basic Income programs, are proven to prevent child abuse and neglect and increase family well-being[3],[4].

  • Many communities have explored innovative secondary prevention programs, such as the Georgia-based Together for Families. Together for Families provides families involved with child welfare with resources to address their basic needs and connects them with a family navigator who helps them navigate systems to advocate for their family[5].

  • New York state employs a tertiary prevention program to provide treatment and services for children and youth who have experienced trauma or violence. They maintain mobile Children’s Advocacy Center units, each housed in a Winnebago, which travel the state to ensure that children and youth in rural areas have easily accessible mental and physical health care that meets their individual needs[6].


To help agencies shift toward prevention-focused systems, the Capacity Building Center for States offers tailored capacity building projects, lived expertise consultation, opportunities to connect with other jurisdictions and experts, and a number of publications, learning experiences, and resource series.

Connect With Peers

The Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) Prevention Plan Leads Peer Group supports collaboration and learning between state leads who are responsible for supporting prevention plan development and/or implementation in their jurisdictions to meet the requirements of the FFPSA. Learn more on the Center for States Peer Groups webpage.

Speak With an Expert

Candice Ward, Program Area Manager for Prevention and FFPSA, is available to address questions related to available Center and Federal supports for prevention strategies as well as FFPSA planning and implementation. Learn more about Candice and schedule a virtual meeting on the Center’s Meet the Center’s Experts webpage.

Discover Resources

Use the following resources to learn more about approaches that strengthen the prevention continuum (primary, secondary, tertiary) through collaborative partnerships:

Center Resources

Sharing Power

Related Resources

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Related Organizations

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  • FRIENDS National Resource Center – FRIENDS provides targeted technical assistance and training to the Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) community.
  • Prevent Child Abuse America – PCAA works to prevent child abuse and neglect before it happens through research, advocacy, and awareness.

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