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An Upstream Approach: Using Data-Driven Home Visiting to Prevent Child Abuse [Chronicle of SC]

Thursday, August 4, 2016  
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Chronicle of Social Change


Yesterday, Los Angeles County’s Board of Supervisors voted 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.


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