In April We Recognize National Child Abuse Prevention Month

During the month of April, we recognize National Child Abuse Prevention Month (NCAPM)

During the month of April, we recognize National Child Abuse Prevention Month (NCAPM) and the importance of communities working together to help families thrive and prevent child maltreatment.Throughout the year, communities are encouraged to increase awareness about child and family well-being and work together to implement effective strategies that support families and prevent child abuse and neglect.Knowledge and understanding of protective factors and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) can inform efforts to reduce the risk of maltreatment and prevent recurrence of abuse or neglect by drawing on family strengths and acknowledging the impact of traumatic events.

Protective Factors

Protective factors are conditions or attributes that, when present in families and communities, increase the well-being of children and families and reduce the likelihood of maltreatment. Identifying protective factors helps parents find resources, supports, or coping strategies that allow them to parent effectively—even under stress. There are 6 protective factors:

  • Nurturing and attachment
  • Knowledge of parenting and of child and youth development
  • Parental resilience
  • Social connections
  • Concrete supports for parents
  • Social and emotional competence of children

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)

Adverse Childhood Experiences are potentially traumatic events that occur before a child reaches the age of 18. ACEs include:

  • All types of abuse and neglect
  • Parental substance use or mental illness
  • Parental incarceration
  • Domestic violence
  • Divorce

A landmark study in the 1990s found a significant relationship between the number of ACEs a person experienced and a variety of negative outcomes in adulthood, including poor physical and mental health, substance use, and risky behaviors.The more ACEs experienced, the greater the risk for these outcomes. By definition, children involved with the child welfare system have suffered at least one ACE. Understanding the impact of ACEs, and how to build resilience in children and families, can lead to more trauma-informed interventions that help to mitigate negative outcomes.TED Talks hosts an excellent presentation by Dr. Nadine Bourke Harris, MD, MPH on ACEs on YouTube: click here.For more information on ACEs, visit