In 2013, the Utah Department of Health (UDOH), the Department of Human Services (DHS), and Prevent Child Abuse Utah (PCAU), unsuccessfully applied for funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to implement a child abuse and neglect primary prevention framework called Essentials for Childhood (EfC). Although Utah was not funded, there was interest in continuing the momentum that had developed during planning. The Department of Human Services (DHS) was also interested in forming a group to address Adverse Childhood Experience’s (ACEs) and child abuse and neglect. The two agencies saw the opportunity to collaborate and the Utah Coalition for Protecting Childhood (UCPC) was formed in early 2015. At that time, UCPC decided to participate in the federal EfC activities as an unfunded state as much as possible. This gave DHS and UDOH staff an opportunity to participate in learning and evaluation opportunities and receive technical support from the CDC. This continued effort and momentum contributed to Utah’s successful 2018 application.
The purpose of this work is to create the conditions in which parents and caregivers can successfully meet the basic needs of the family unit.
Mission:UCPC members are united behind the common goal to strengthen families and increase the likelihood that all Utah children are thriving in safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments through the implementation of comprehensive policy and program strategies.
Child maltreatment is preventable. States, businesses, communities, families, and individuals all have a part, both individually and collectively, in reducing risk. Focusing on primary prevention yields the most significant outcomes. The public health model which emphasizes the linkages and relationships of multiple factors as well as comprehensive evaluation is the most appropriate model to address all levels of the socio-ecological system. Intervention is still necessary to prevent further abuse and to break the abuse cycle. Breaking the cycle of multi-generational violence is critical to keep the victim from perpetrating. A collective impact is necessary to achieve the best results. Given the magnitude and complexity of the problem, a shared approach with a common agenda will yield the most success.
Child maltreatment affects society as a whole. Therefore, the solution is to create a supportive community context for children and families in order to prevent or reduce toxic stress. Adverse childhood experiences (ACE’s), have overwhelming psychological and physical effects across the lifespan. Preventing and buffering such experiences is necessary to the prosperity of our state and its citizens.
Preventing child maltreatment is a realistic and attainable goal. There is enough evidence on what works (addressing risk and protective factors) that we can prevent child maltreatment from occurring through smart investments. The most significant years for preventing maltreatment are 0-5.