Child Maltreatment Prevention Strategies and Needs
This secondary qualitative study explored local perceptions of the causes of child maltreatment and prevention needs in 12 counties in a midwestern state through focus groups with relevant stakeholders. The study further explored perspectives on if the existing programs were meeting local needs. A total of 107 individuals took part in 13 focus group sessions across 12 counties as part of a needs assessment process. In this qualitative secondary data analysis, constant comparative analysis—including open, axial, and selective coding—was used to examine perceptions of maltreatment prevention needs and how these coincided with available programs. Stakeholders identified several factors they believed to be causes of child maltreatment across the counties, including intergenerational issues (e.g., cycle of violence), poverty, social isolation, and behavioral health issues. Specific child maltreatment prevention programs were singled out as particularly beneficial, while other types of programs or services such as affordable housing, were noted as missing or inadequate. Participants also highlighted barriers to receiving services across their counties. Despite differences in terms of county characteristics, the findings suggest that causes of maltreatment and service needs are shared across geographic boundaries. While available programs tended to focus on parenting education, counties identified significant maltreatment prevention needs that also ameliorate poverty and substance use.
KeywordsMaltreatment Prevention Qualitative Focus groups
The authors thank Dr. Kristen Slack and Dr. Bridget Freisthler for assistance in conceptualizing this study.
K.M.J.: Conceptualized the study, collaborated to conduct secondary qualitative data analysis, and wrote paper. T.N.: Collaborated to conduct secondary qualitative data analysis and wrote paper. K.S.: Collaborated in the writing and editing of the final manuscript.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
The Institutional Review Board at The Ohio State University deemed this study not human subjects research, as the data were collected for the purposes of program evaluation and the analyses for this study were conducted on completely de-identified transcribed focus group information.
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