What is Prevention?

The first step to changing anything is to talk about it. Conversations are critical to social change. Child maltreatment, however, isn’t something people like to talk about. It’s depressing. It makes people angry. It can seem like too big of a problem, or one that can’t be controlled or changed. It can happen within all socioeconomic levels, cultures and communities. There are thousands of Arizona children currently in the foster care system because of child abuse or neglect. The subject, understandably, can seem overwhelming.

But there’s good news: child maltreatment is largely preventable, and more importantly, there are proven ways to strengthen families so that all children can thrive. In other words:

Prevention of Child Maltreatment = Strengthening Families

When prevention is the focus, the conversation about child maltreatment becomes about strength, hope and solutions.

So let’s talk about it.

What Does Prevention Look Like?

Helping families stay strong can be accomplished at all levels of society, from a policy that affects a whole nation to an action taken by a single person. No matter how it is being done, strengthening families involves doing some or all of the following things:

  • Promoting parenting education and information about child development
  • Helping parents and caretakers build resilience to crisis
  • Offering concrete support to families in times of need
  • Strengthening parent-child relationships
  • Helping families build and maintain social connections
  • Supporting the development of children’s social and emotional skills

These strategies, when done together, create communities in which families are strong and all children can thrive. This is prevention.


You may notice that there are several programs in your community that are doing some or all of these prevention activities, such as a local food bank, a parent support group, or a quality child care center. When these programs are supported and expanded, prevention is enhanced.

What are Some Examples of Prevention Programs in Arizona?

There are many programs that, as shown by research and evidence, promote strong families and optimal child development. Prevent Child Abuse Arizona works to advocate for, support, or implement these programs. Some of these programs include:

Home Visiting Programs:

In home visiting programs, family support professionals regularly visit families of young children in their homes (the child’s natural environment), offering parent education, resource referral, and activities parents can do to promote their child’s development. Oftentimes, home visiting programs also enhance family social connections by hosting playgroups and events.

  • Examples of home visiting programs in Arizona include Healthy Families, Parents as Teachers, Nurse Family Partnership and Family Spirit.

Parenting Education Classes:

Community-based parenting education classes offer tips, tools and strategies to parents and caregivers that are designed to reduce family stress and promote parent-child relationships.

  • Examples of parenting education programs in Arizona include: Positive Parenting Program (Triple P), Common Sense Parenting, Love and Logic, and many more.

Affordable Quality Child Care:

Quality child care centers have qualified teachers trained to guide young children to develop the skills they need to succeed in school and life. The most important aspect of a quality child care center is a nurturing, positive relationship between the child care provider and the child. Parents often need child care in order to work or attend school. When all families have access to the quality child care they need, families and children can thrive.


  • Access to affordable quality early education in Arizona is supported by DES child care subsidies and First Things First Quality First scholarships. Professional development opportunities for child care professionals, including college scholarships, also enhance the quality of child care.