Abuse and neglect prevention starts BEFORE birth

A report done by the National Center for Children in Poverty in September 2010 showed the factors that increase the risk of infant maltreatment.  These factors are:

  • smoking during pregnancy
  • infant having two or more siblings
  • Medicaid enrollee
  • unmarried
  • infant low-birth weight
  • less than high school education
  • teen mother
  • short spacing (under 15 months) between pregnancy
  • poor pre-natal care
  • adverse outcomes in prior pregnancy

Most of these factors are situations that occur BEFORE the child is born and even before pregnancy.

“Children younger than three years of age are the most likely of all children to become involved with Child Welfare Services, and they have the highest rate of victimization of maltreatment among all age groups.”

Services for at-risk households are crucial to prevent these young children from being neglected and abused.  This report was mainly done to research the possibilities of taking care of these children after they enter Child Welfare Services.  However, there are organizations out there that provide support for families, mothers, and siblings of newborns.

Whenever I hear the word “risk factor” when talking about child abuse and neglect, I become wary.  I think that parents, families, and siblings are in tough situations where stress levels are increased, family history has taught parents in a certain way, and other factors are present.  Having the knowledge of where to find support services and resources is crucial to decreasing stress, breaking family history cycles, and helping in other ways.

Better Indy Babies and Healthy Families America are two resources provided by HealthNet throughout the Indianapolis community.  The staff here provide knowledge and support to families and parents who are pregnant or have children from age birth to 5.  You can help these two resources be of greater service to families in need.  Learn more about what tools are out there or donate directly by clicking here.

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