Investing in Voluntary Home Visiting to Stop the Cycle of Child Abuse, Crime and Violence
In 2010, there were almost 700,000 victims of abuse or neglect in America. Research shows the true number of victims, including those never reported to authorities, may be three times as high, or well over 2 million. Child abuse or neglect killed 1,560 children in 2010.
Children who survive abuse or neglect carry the emotional scars for life. The best available research indicates that, based on the confirmed cases of abuse and neglect in just one year, an additional 25,000 children will become violent criminals as adults as a direct result of the abuse and neglect they endured.
For more information on our state-specific work, please visit our state pages.
Voluntary Home Visiting and Child Abuse Prevention
Evidence-based home visiting programs can prevent child abuse and neglect and reduce later crime and violence. They offer frequent, voluntary home visits by trained professionals who help at-risk new parents get the information, skills, and support they need to raise healthy and safe kids. Trained home visiting professionals teach new parents about proper childcare, coach them on responding to an infant’s needs, and offer support and referrals to other needed services where appropriate.
For example, a study of one home visiting model, the Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP), found that participation in the program cut abuse and neglect among at-risk kids nearly in half. Children of mothers left out had twice as many substantiated incidents of abuse or neglect as the children of mothers served by NFP. The children left out of the program had more than twice as many arrests by age 15. Children who were left out of the program were twice as likely to be convicted by age 19 than nurse-visited children. One site of the quality nurse home visitation program found significantly fewer cases of childhood injury and child mortality among families who participated.
The Maternal and Infant Early Childhood Home Visiting grant program provided $1.5 billion over 5 years in new guaranteed funding for grants to states to support the establishment and expansion of voluntary, evidence-based home visiting programs to assist at-risk families with young children.