Citing an estimated three million reports of suspected maltreatment, the U.S. Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect declared a national emergency in the field of child protection in 1990. The Board's efforts culminated in the landmark 1993 report - Neighbors Helping Neighbors - a proposal for a new comprehensive, neighborhood-based, child-centered, family-focused child protection system, which represents a significant shift in focus from "When is it justifiable to intervene coercively?" to "What can be done to prevent harm to children?"
The editors of this comprehensive volume are the principal architects of the proposed prevention strategy. They have brought together leading experts on child maltreatment to address its social, cultural, and economic precursors, as well as effective prevention and treatment. Focusing on ways to strengthen neighborhoods, build connections among and within families, and bolster economic and social supports, contributors offer practical advice for the development and implementation of programs and policies to prevent harm to children. To create a society-wide safety net in which child protection becomes a part of everyday life, their work proposes an agenda for critical research and identifies concrete strategies for all those who come in contact with children. Such work served as the empirical foundation for the U.S. Advisory Board's new national strategy.
Offering a picture of child abuse and neglect unmatched in its authority and breadth, this book is ideal for social workers, all mental health professionals working with children, child rights advocates, child welfare administrators, and policy makers. It is also valuable as a primary text or secondary reading for courses dealing with strategies for preventing child abuse and neglect.
"This is not a book about reducing the child welfare system's growing caseload. It is a book about developing approaches to protecting and nurturing children....Political figures, policy makers, program designers, as well as human service practitioners, trainers, and educators should work their way through this volume...." --James P. Gleeson in Social Service Review .."..This book is of prime value to policy and program developers. The content is a rich sourcebook of recent research and thinking on issues related to the etiology, treatment and prevention of child abuse and neglect. The strong reference listings in all chapters will aid researchers and students...." --Leonard H. Feldman in Child and Family Behavior Therapy "Public child welfare systems are under siege. Media accounts of scandals and mismanagement in these systems are commonplace. They are also fertile ground for class action litigation on the part of child advocates interested in protecting the welfare of children. Needless to say, policy makers and practitioners are desperately searching for solutions to the problems they are confronting. They will find Protecting Children from Abuse and Neglect to be a particularly useful resource. It should be mandatory reading for everyone interested in public child welfare services." --Ira M. Schwartz, M.S.W., Dean, School of Social Work, University of Pennsylvania "Protecting Children from Abuse and Neglect is a book every policy maker, child advocate, and community developer must read if this nation is to build communities that strengthen and support families. This state-of-the-art book also should be required reading for professionals in the fields of mental health, social services, and law because these groups, more than others, are on the front line providing services, representing clients, and impacting families and children on a daily basis. If we truly want to protect children and strengthen families we must understand and embrace the neighborhood-based approach to reducing the incidence of child abuse and neglect. Healthy neighborhoods, as discussed in this book, are able to offer shelter, safety, employment, health and mental health care, education, a social support network, and recreation for families living within their confines. The opposite of this is a neighborhood where unemployment is high, violence abounds, families are dysfunctional, neighbors are distrustful of each other, and children are not safe. This timely, informative, and well organized book teaches us how to strengthen neighborhoods; provides us critical information on the impact of material and social support needs of families; discusses the role of sociocultural influences and intervention and treatment services in the prevention of child abuse and neglect; discusses system reforms and suggestions for broad strategies that can reduce out-of-home placements; and tells us how to strengthen neighborhood-based programs. If we as a Nation followed the new 'social fabric' outlined in this book, we would make tremendous progress toward protecting children and strengthening families. This book, written by well-known and extremely knowledgeable professionals, provides us with a blue-print for action." --Diane J. Willis, Ph.D., Department of Pediatrics, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center "Melton and Barry have used their positions on the U.S. Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect not only to educate those in Washington but also to provide the field with a solid summary of what we know and what has to be done to better protect children. Too often Federally commissioned efforts like those included in this volume simply gather dust in some office. Protecting Children offers the field well researched and critical discussions of key issues with which we struggle--poverty and its role in maltreatment, the capacity of social supports to mitigate the potential for maltreatment, the importance of recognizing cultural differences in creating effective services, and the use and misuse of out-of-placements. The type of well reasoned debate offered in this volume is a prerequisite for creating truly 'caring communities' for children." --Deborah A. Daro, DSW, Director, Center on Child Abuse Prevention Research, a program of the National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse, Chicago, Illinois "The chapters in the book are uniformly sound. Each is a thorough and sophisticated review of a body of literature related to the reform of the child protection system. Each chapter carefully analyzes a key concept related to the development of a neighborhood based strategy for child protection. The chapters assess what is known, and what is not, and assess the significance of the area for the development of a neighborhood based strategy. "The reader concerned with policy development will have a secure base for evaluating the US Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect's recommendation for a 'Neighbor to Neighbor' approach to redesigning the child protection system. A research worker in child abuse or neglect can profitably use this set of chapters to see how a new idea for research fits with what is already known. Moreover, the research oriented reader will also find very useful analyses of key constructs. The chapters will also be very useful for graduate students in child abuse and neglect who wish to obtain careful, analytic reviews of knowledge in community oriented approaches to understanding, treating, and preventing child abuse and neglect. "The introductory chapter by Frank Barry and Gary Melton, who both served on the US Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect, sets the context for this set of reports. Although these papers were commissioned for a specific purpose, their publication is a great service to the field at large. In many respects, the book is a basic reference work that will be consulted frequently for many different reasons. Policy makers, research workers and graduate students will also find much useful material in the book." --Murray Levine, J.D., Ph.D., Professor, Co-Director, Research Center for Children and Youth, Suny, Buffalo, Adjunct Professor of Law "Focusing on ways to strengthen communities and families, the contributers offer practical advice for building new programs and policies that will create a society-wide safety net for U.S. children." --"Journal of Social Work" .,."An important collection of discussions as to what a neighborhood approach should entail...From the individual endeavor to the community effort at large, this volume illustrates the critical pieces of a national strategy for the protection of children from abuse and neglect. This book is well written and clearly organized. The ideas are timely, practical, and well substantiated. This book would be useful to any mental health practitioner working with children of any age, or anyone interested in planning more effective interventions with children. Researchers will also be interested in this volume due to the excellent literature reviews and detailed suggestions for additional research. The ideas presented are practical and well supported and provide a convincing strategy for a comprehensive approach to reducing child maltreatment nationwide." -"-Journal of Pediatric Psychology"