Creating Community Responsibility for Child Protection: Possibilities and Challenges
This chapter was published in, and the following abstract taken from the Fall 2009 edition of the journal The Future of Children (v 19.2).
The authors observe that efforts to prevent child abuse have historically focused on directly improving the skills of parents who are at risk for or engaged in maltreatment. But, as experts increasingly recognize that negative forces within a community can overwhelm even well-intentioned parents, attention is shifting toward creating environments that facilitate a parent’s ability to do the right thing. According to the authors, the most sophisticated and widely used community prevention programs emphasize the reciprocal interplay between individual-family behavior and broader neighborhood, community, and cultural contexts.
The authors examine five different community prevention efforts, summarizing for each both the theory of change and the empirical evidence concerning its efficacy. Each program aims to enhance community capacity by expanding formal and informal resources and establishing a normative cultural context capable of fostering collective responsibility for positive child development.