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Promising Evidence in Preventing Child Abuse & Neglect

A new study says Early Head Start may be effective in lowering child maltreatment in families with low incomes.

According to the scientific findings, enrolled children were less likely to be physically or sexually abused.

research brief—released by CDC and the Administration for Children and Families—addresses two main questions in a sample of Early Head Start eligible children:

  • Number and type of maltreatment episodes
  • Impact of Early Head Start on child and family involvement in the child welfare system

The key finding, that Early Head Start may be effective in lowering child maltreatment among low income families, is:

  • Important, given the lack of scalable and effective preventive interventions.
  • Timely, given the recent interest in fostering collaborations between early care and education programs and child welfare agencies.

Early Head Start is an early education program for low-income families with infants and toddlers, designed to support child development and parent and family well-being.

The current study represents a first look at the impact of Early Head Start on child maltreatment; more information will be made available as data collection continues.