Preventing Childhood Adversity Through Economic Support and Social Norm Strategies

Am J Prev Med. 2022 Jun;62(6 Suppl 1):S16-S23. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2021.11.016.


Through the Essentials for Childhood program, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funds 7 state health departments (states) to address the urgent public health problem of adverse childhood experiences and child abuse and neglect, in particular. Through interviews and document reviews, the paper highlights the early implementation of 2 primary prevention strategies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's child abuse and neglect technical package with the greatest potential for broad public health impact to prevent adverse childhood experiences-strengthening economic supports and changing social norms. States are focused on advancing family-friendly work policies such as paid family and medical leave, livable wage policies, flexible and consistent work schedules, as well as programs and policies that strengthen household financial security such as increasing access to Earned Income Tax Credit. In addition, states are launching campaigns that focus on reframing the way people think about child abuse and neglect and who is responsible for preventing it. State-level activities such as establishing a diverse coalition of partners, program champions, and state action planning have helped to leverage and align resources needed to implement, evaluate, and sustain programs. States are working to increase awareness and commitment to multisector efforts that reduce adverse childhood experiences and promote safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments for children. Early learning from this funding opportunity indicates that using a public health approach, states are well positioned to implement comprehensive, primary prevention strategies and approaches to ensure population-level impact for preventing child abuse and neglect and other adverse childhood experience.

MeSH terms

  • Adverse Childhood Experiences*
  • Child
  • Child Abuse* / prevention & control
  • Family Characteristics
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Social Norms