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Rigorous Research on Existing Child Maltreatment Prevention Programs: Introduction to the Special Section

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Abstract

Awareness of child maltreatment as a major public health problem in the US has increased in recent years. In response, major public initiatives have been launched to fund the delivery of evidence-based programs, such as home visiting, in an effort to promote child and family functioning and health and prevent maltreatment. While promising, the number of families served by these programs remains small relative to need. Further, many families across the US are served by community-designed and supported programs for which rigorous outcome evidence has never been collected. To broaden the evidence-base on child maltreatment prevention programs, and to encourage the use of rigorous research designs in community settings, the Children’s Bureau sponsored four randomized controlled trials of established programs that had a limited or no evidence base. In this introduction to a special section of Prevention Science on the prevention of child maltreatment, an overview is provided on the epidemiology of maltreatment and the funding initiative that sponsored the four trials, and a call is made for further rigorous research by prevention scientists.

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Correspondence to J. Mark Eddy.

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Eddy, J.M., Sneddon, D. Rigorous Research on Existing Child Maltreatment Prevention Programs: Introduction to the Special Section. Prev Sci 21, 1–3 (2020) doi:10.1007/s11121-019-01058-6

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Keywords

  • Child maltreatment
  • Abuse
  • Neglect
  • Randomized controlled trials
  • Evidence-based programs and practices