California Essentials for Childhood Case Study: Collective Impact Through Strategic Opportunities


This case study describes the formation, process, and implementation of the California Essentials for Childhood (EfC) Initiative. Major successes and challenges of the EfC Initiative are highlighted, as well as lessons learned and future directions. Grounded in a collective impact organizing model, the EfC Initiative brought a public health lens to addressing child maltreatment in California with an emphasis on primary prevention and social determinants of health. The public health perspective allows for broader policy and systems change approaches that can have population-level impacts. This perspective was embraced by partner organizations in ways that will have lasting influence and help to align cross-sector efforts to promote safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments. The EfC Initiative was also successful in developing new Childhood Adversity and Resilience metrics for and local dashboards that provide actionable data for local partners. However, it was challenging to operate under a collective impact structure in a state as geographically and demographically diverse as California. The lessons learned will inform the next steps for the EfC Initiative.

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This work was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CE002363–01.

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Correspondence to Steve Wirtz.

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Abbott, M., Wirtz, S. California Essentials for Childhood Case Study: Collective Impact Through Strategic Opportunities. Int. Journal on Child Malt. 1, 133–152 (2019).

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  • Child abuse
  • Child neglect
  • Child maltreatment
  • Prevention
  • Collective impact
  • Policy
  • Systems change
  • Social norms