Article

Interventions to Prevent Child Maltreatment and Associated Impairment

Departments of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences and of Pediatrics, and Offord Centre for Child Studies, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada.
The Lancet (Impact Factor: 45.22). 01/2009; 373(9659):250-66. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(08)61708-0
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

Although a broad range of programmes for prevention of child maltreatment exist, the effectiveness of most of the programmes is unknown. Two specific home-visiting programmes-the Nurse-Family Partnership (best evidence) and Early Start-have been shown to prevent child maltreatment and associated outcomes such as injuries. One population-level parenting programme has shown benefits, but requires further assessment and replication. Additional in-hospital and clinic strategies show promise in preventing physical abuse and neglect. However, whether school-based educational programmes prevent child sexual abuse is unknown, and there are currently no known approaches to prevent emotional abuse or exposure to intimate-partner violence. A specific parent-training programme has shown benefits in preventing recurrence of physical abuse; no intervention has yet been shown to be effective in preventing recurrence of neglect. A few interventions for neglected children and mother-child therapy for families with intimate-partner violence show promise in improving behavioural outcomes. Cognitive-behavioural therapy for sexually abused children with symptoms of post-traumatic stress shows the best evidence for reduction in mental-health conditions. For maltreated children, foster care placement can lead to benefits compared with young people who remain at home or those who reunify from foster care; enhanced foster care shows benefits for children. Future research should ensure that interventions are assessed in controlled trials, using actual outcomes of maltreatment and associated health measures.

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