To help us understand the keys to child abuse prevention, we must understand how to reduce risk factors in families and communities and how to promote protective factors.

Many people are familiar with the factors that can increase the risk of child abuse, including substance use, mental health issues, domestic violence, a lack of understanding of child development, social isolation, as well as several others.

The other side of the coin that is important to understand is the factors that help keep children and families safe, which are referred to as protective factors. Commonly identified protective factors include supportive social and family networks, nurturing parental skills, and the ability to meet basic needs like housing and health care.

There are many ways to ensure families are adequately supported within their communities by providing them with tools to help keep children safe.

Below, the film Building Community, Building Hope highlights three innovative programs working to prevent and respond to child maltreatment. The programs seek to engage parents and communities and form the partnerships needed to ensure the safety and well-being of all children and families.

To find out more about what Kentucky is doing to strengthen families in the commonwealth, check out information about the Kentucky Strengthening Families initiative from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services and the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood. Groups across the state take part in facilitating trainings and hosting parent cafes.

In honor of April as Child Abuse Prevention Month, can you identify protective factors in your family or community?