Childhood maltreatment (CM) is harm, potential for harm or a threat to harm via an act of either commission (abuse, threat) or omission (neglect). Studies have shown that children under the age of three are at the greatest risk with the most common problem being neglect. In this document, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) describes a plan to prevent childhood maltreatment by promoting safe, stable and nurturing relationships (SSNR).

SSNRs are the opposite of CM relationships: safe as compared to neglectful or violent, stable vs. unpredictable and chaotic, and nurturing vs. hostile or rejecting. Promotion of SSNR practices, along with enhanced access to social services, has been shown to have lower levels of CM in participating families. Expanding SSNR practices to a community level and expansion of social services is important because economic stress, housing stress and low parental education have all been linked to increased levels of CM. The CDCs strategy includes a better understanding the impact and prevalence of CM and SSNRs, understanding the modifiable risk and protective factors for CM perpetration, and parent/community centered strategies that can help to promote SSNRs and prevent CM. Through this outline, the CDC aims to establish and nurture programs that use evidence based CM prevention strategies that are accepted in the community.

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