About Prevent Child Abuse Arizona

Prevent Child Abuse Arizona has been the state’s leading child maltreatment prevention organization for more than 30 years. Through programs, advocacy and training, PCA Arizona implements strategies to keep children safe and support families in our communities.

PCA Arizona is the state chapter of Prevent Child Abuse America. There are 50 chapters of Prevent Child Abuse America throughout the United States.

Our Mission

Prevent Child Abuse Arizona is dedicated to strengthening families and protecting children through collaboration, education, and advocacy.

More than 85,000 babies are born in Arizona each year, over half of whom are at risk for poor developmental outcomes including abuse and neglect.

Prevent Child Abuse Arizona is a leader in bringing research-based prevention services to communities throughout the state. Each year, our prevention services reach more than 60,000 young children and their families with parent education, home visits and child welfare system improvements. Thousands of community professionals will attend one of our many best-practice trainings.

Our History

It all started in 1989 with a banker’s box and a borrowed Kaypro computer in founder Rebecca Ruffner’s garage.

“I remember thinking, ‘All kids ought to be able to grow up in homes where they feel safe and loved,’” she said. And so it began.

“I attended a conference at St. John’s Child Trauma Center in Los Angeles. Michael Durfee, MD, was head of the L.A. County child welfare system, and was an early advocate for prevention of child abuse and neglect. Prevention was a new concept; previously, child welfare professionals only focused on intervention after damage had already been done.”

That day in 1989, in trying to explain how new the field of prevention was, Dr. Durfee said, “Everything we know about preventing child abuse came off the Xerox 20 minutes ago.”

“We were navigating uncharted territory. And we’ve encountered many obstacles along the way,” Ruffner said.

But, with perseverance, and evidence-based research, Ruffner and Prevent Child Abuse Arizona have helped implement positive system changes by showing child welfare agencies, legislators and community members the importance of building strong families to help make sure abuse never happens in the first place, and by creating and/or advocating for programs and trainings that accomplish this crucial objective.

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We put prevention first in everything we do.

PCA Arizona’s goal is to change the societal conditions that lead to abuse and neglect so children can thrive in their families and communities.

Why is an organization like PCA Arizona needed?

More than 85,000 babies are born in Arizona annually. Over half of these newborns are at risk for abuse and neglect at birth because of factors including:

• POVERTY
• SOCIAL ISOLATION
• LACK OF PARENTING SKILLS

Child abuse and neglect result in incalculable social, emotional and monetary costs that can last a lifetime and affect generations. It is vital to our future that children have safe, healthy childhoods so they can learn, thrive and contribute to society as they grow up and start their own families as adults.

Research tells us engaging new parents around the time of birth is the most effective and cost-efficient prevention strategy.

Everyone can do something today to improve the lives of children in their community.