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An Upstream Approach: Using Data-Driven Home Visiting to Prevent Child Abuse

Child Abuse & Neglect
Early Childhood
Education
Health
Housing & Homelessness
Poverty & Family Economics

The Chronicle of Social Change

By Daniel Heimpel

8/2/16

Today, Los Angeles County’s Board of Supervisors will vote on a motion to move 103 public health nurses from the Department of Children and Family Services to the Department of Public Health.

While largely administrative, the development sets the nation’s largest child welfare system ­­up for a much broader discussion about how public health strategies can help break the intergenerational cycles of abuse that result in preventable child maltreatment.

In particular, data identifying heightened maltreatment risk for children born to young mothers who have experienced abuse themselves provides an opportunity to better target the county’s home visiting programs. While the county appears to be getting it right with pregnant foster youth, two premier home visiting programs do not triage their severely limited service capacity based on families at the highest statistical risk for abuse.

Targeting Risk

If Los Angeles County were to do something new on this front, it would be following the lead of …

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