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Child Abuse and Neglect

Each year, abuse and neglect harm millions of children. Family relationships also suffer, and communities experience the increasing financial burden of addressing the consequences of child maltreatment. The good news is we can help. Strategies and programs exist that can prevent child maltreatment, before it happens.


Child abuse and neglect is a complex issue that affects countless families across the country, regardless of geography, ethnicity, or income. Adverse childhood experiences can not only harm a child while young, but have a significant impact on social and health issues later in life as an adult. Thankfully, safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments are shown to help families thrive and prevent child abuse and neglect.

Relationships and environments where children are nurtured and safe help them become healthy and productive adults. Prevention resources, such as Essentials for Childhood, can help communities promote positive environments and relationships.

The ACEs Snapshot will serve as a doorway to the CDC's latest work and research into the topic of ACEs, Snapshot is designed to be approachable, informative, and something you can share to help stakeholders and partners understand ACEs.

This infographic highlights how adverse childhood experiences affect our lives and our society—and what we can do to prevent them.

Child maltreatment can be prevented before it occurs. State health departments can promote and enhance effective prevention efforts and make a lasting difference for many. Use these resources to help your health department’s efforts.

Child maltreatment includes harm to a child in the form of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse or neglect. Increased awareness and education about the issue can help communities prevent it before it happens.

Understanding Child Maltreatment