The burden of child maltreatment in the U.S. remains a substantial problem with life-course implications, yet systematic efforts to prevent its occurrence and the associated impairments have been limited. The review of universal and targeted child maltreatment prevention interventions to address child physical abuse by Nelson and Caplan provide a thoughtful critique of the child maltreatment prevention efforts and a recognition of the importance of developing a public health framework to address this problem. An overriding prevention strategy should be derived from a systems level approach, which embraces the socio-ecological, and public health frameworks (with integration of policy and practice).

The policy implications of these interventions is important to grasp, with opportunities to foster policies supportive of a public health approach to child maltreatment prevention.

Key Take Away Points

  • Nelson and Caplan provide an overview of the evidence of child maltreatment interventions for child physical abuse.
  • This review identifies universal interventions focusing on parent education and training, home visitation models, and multi-component programs which combine a variety of community-based interventions.
  • Integrating these promising child maltreatment prevention interventions into a public health and social-ecological framework has important policy implications.

Author Biography

Philip Scribano, DO, MSCE, is the Director of Safe Place: Center for Child Protection and Health at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Professor of Pediatrics at Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also the Program Director for the Child Abuse Pediatrics fellowship at CHOP. He has devoted his scholarly activity in the areas of child maltreatment assessment and prevention, psychosocial aspects of child maltreatment, and interventions to address intimate partner violence. He was awarded multiple program and research awards including grants from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Centers for Disease Control, U.S. Administration on Children and Families, and U.S. Department of Justice. He trained in Pediatrics at the St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children and completed a fellowship in Pediatric Emergency Medicine at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where he also obtained a Master’s degree in Clinical Epidemiology at Penn.



A Response To:

The Prevention of Child Physical Abuse and Neglect: An Update by Geoffrey Nelson and Rachel Caplan.