The rise in child abuse and neglect cases from 2014-2016 in Dodge and Jefferson counties prompted the Every Child Thrives Transformation Council to prioritize turning this curve downward.
Root causes for child abuse and neglect identified include:
- Parents experience impairments in social, emotional, and executive functioning skills
- Lack of awareness of brain development science and tools for early brain building
- Families experience barriers in accessing needed services and resources
When Every Child Thrives started in 2017, emphasis was placed on building trust among partners and fostering interagency collaborations. Examples of effective programs implemented include Community Response and Home Visiting by Birth to 3 and public health departments. The largest Every Child Thrives intervention to date has been TalkReadPlay, which continues to evolve with more support planned to strengthen families. In addition, several partners pledged to implement trauma-informed practices in support of individual, family, and community resilience.
Recognizing that many efforts are underway to reduce child abuse and neglect cases, it will take more time to understand how these efforts are directly influencing this data. The Covid-19 pandemic in 2020-2021 will likely impact this data, as it is known that abuse and neglect cases may not have been reported during stay at home orders.
A network of providers is being developed to provide integrated resources and supports to families in Dodge and Jefferson counties. A sustained, balanced commitment to build community protective factors beyond programming and moving toward systems change is needed from all partners involved.