Child Maltreatment Prevention Initiative

All children are valued, healthy and thriving. 

The Need.

Abuse and neglect impacts more than 37,000 children a year in Colorado according to the Colorado Department of Human Services Community Performance Center. While progress has been made to reduce this number, there is still a significant need to enhance and connect two-generation prevention efforts that promote optimal child development. Research shows that when the Family Strengthening Protective Factors (parental resilience; social connections; concrete support in times of need; knowledge of parenting and child development; and social and emotional competence of children) are well established, the likelihood of child abuse and neglect diminishes.

The Focus.

Colorado has been spearheading a national effort to develop the Child Maltreatment Prevention Framework for Action (Framework). Public and private partners involved in its development include: Colorado Office of Early Childhood, Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, University of Denver, South Carolina Children’s Trust, the National Child Abuse and Neglect TA and Strategic Dissemination Center, and the Zoma Foundation. The Framework, which is rooted in the Early Childhood Colorado Framework, is designed to guide strategic thinking, align strategies and maximize shared outcomes that will result from strategic investments to prevent child maltreatment and promote child well-being.

The Strategy – Community Planning

An important shift in thinking has led to a reconceptualization of planning that prioritizes the linking and coordination of intervention efforts starting early in a child’s lifespan as well as a consideration of the local community context. Up to sixteen communities will be selected to receive financial support and technical assistance. These communities will create the first local child maltreatment prevention plans using the Framework. As these communities begin their planning efforts, Milestones will provide the coordination, structure, facilitation and communication needed to best ensure the development of effective and actionable prevention plans.

Local communities can:

  • Identify their unique priority areas of improvement
  • Create corresponding action plans for each priority area
  • Deploy monitoring systems to track the implementation of changes and resulting progress
Toolkit Graphic
Figure 1. Tasks in the community level planning process. Reprinted from Child maltreatment prevention: Executive summary of a planning framework for action (p. 40), by D. Daro, E. Jarpe-Ratner, C. Karter, J. Bellamy, & K. Seay, 2017, Chicago, IL: Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago.