A special issue of the International Journal on Child Maltreatment: Research, Policy and Practice, (ed. Lonne, Herrenkohl, Higgins, Klika & Scott, 2022) highlights advances in child maltreatment public health prevention. The special issue synthesises current research and offers new insights in work from the fields of psychology, behavioural sciences, implementation science, economics and public policy. It covers a breadth of ideas and perspectives on the complex environments in which prevention strategies have been situated, and their implementation.

The editors asked authors to locate the initiatives and programs they focused on within a framework of the six core components of a public health approach outlined in the chapter they wrote "Core Components of Public Health Approaches to Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect" in the book Handbook of Child Maltreatment (2022). These core components include population-wide prevention strategies to address known risks, using evidence-based interventions, leveraging existing universal service delivery platforms as the springboard for additional targeted services. This multi-faceted approach can facilitate and improve child outcomes.

the 6 core components of a public health approach to child maltreatment prevention including what to focus on, who to intervene with, when to intervene, what works, where to base delivery, and what brings about change at scale

The articles in this special issue throw light on how systems can become more responsive to the needs of vulnerable populations, and demonstrate initiatives and programs within the framework of the core components of a public health approach:

  • Fusing the poverty-aware paradigm with public health approaches to protect children: a case study of an Israeli social services department
  • Using the core components of a public health framework to create a child and family well-being system: example from a national effort, thriving families, safer children
  • A novel strategy for increasing utilisation of earned income tax credits and reducing adverse childhood experiences: the EITC access project
  • Can common elements support a public health approach to child maltreatment?
  • The implications of leveraging administrative data for public health approaches to protecting children: sleepwalking into quicksand?
  • Supporting fathers to prevent child maltreatment: how paid family leave and child care subsidies are part of a public health approach
  • Child maltreatment, adverse childhood experiences, and the public health approach: a systematic literature review
  • Using a public health approach to prevent child sexual abuse by targeting those at risk of harming children


Higgins, D., Lonne, B., Scott, D., Herrenkohl, T. & Klika, B. (2022). Core Components of Public Health Approaches to Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect. In R. Krugman, & J. Korbin, (Eds.) Handbook of Child Maltreatment (Ch 22), 2nd Edition. Springer.

Lonne, B., Herrenkohl, T.I., Higgins, D.J., Klika, J. B. & Scott, D. (2022). Issue editors of International Journal on Child Maltreatment.

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