Children’s brains are built from the bottom up, starting at birth, and strong, nurturing connections with the adults in their lives are critical building blocks of a strong foundation.1
A stable, secure, nurturing relationship with a competent, caring adult helps a child be ready for school and read on grade level,2 by ensuring that (s)he is:
- Protected from dangerous illnesses, exposure to toxins, and hazards that can lead to preventable injuries
- Provided with preventive health check-ups and access to education
- Protected from excessive stress
- Afforded predictable daily routines that convey a sense of security3
When children are abused, neglected or exposed to abusive, neglectful, or violent experiences in their homes or in neighborhoods, they are at greater risk for:
- Language deficits
- Reduced cognitive functioning
- Social-emotional and behavioral difficulties
- Poor self-regulation and problem-solving skills
- Attention deficit disorders
- Reduced physical health4
What Can We Do About It?
What supports children being safe at home?
Strengthening protective factors that support children and families and reducing risk factors decrease child abuse and neglect.1 Examples include:
- Social support
- High quality reliable out-of-home child care
- Access to treatment for depression
- Safe and stable housing
- Social isolation
- Absence of supportive adults
- Violence in the home or neighborhood
What Works for Third Grade Reading: Safe at Home
This brief considers why reducing child abuse and neglect matters for third grade reading proficiency, outlines the connection with other factors that impact early literacy, and highlights options that have been shown to keep young children safe at home. It is one of 12 new working papers that offer research-based policy, practice and program options to states and communities working to improve third grade reading proficiency.
What Works for Third Grade Reading: An Overview of the NC Pathways to Grade-Level Reading
The paper provides an introduction to a series of 12 working papers that offer research-based policy, practice and program options to states and communities working to improve third grade reading proficiency. Read this document first before delving into the papers.
Faith Leaders A Source of Strength for Families
What Works for Third Grade Reading: Supports for Families
This brief considers why formal and informal family supports matter for children’s third grade reading proficiency, outlines the connection with other factors that impact early literacy, and highlights options that have been shown to support families. It is one of 12 new working papers that offer research-based policy, practice and program options to states and communities working to improve third grade reading proficiency.
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More About Safe at Home
Definitions of child abuse and child neglect
Child maltreatment includes child abuse and child neglect.
- Child abuse is when a parent or caregiver, through action or through failing to act, causes injury, death, emotional harm or risk of serious harm to a child. Child abuse can be physical, sexual and/or emotional.
- Child neglect is when a parent or caregiver does not give the care, supervision, affection and support needed for a child’s health, safety and well-being. Child neglect can include neglect of physical, emotional, medical and/or educational needs.1
Rates of child maltreatment
Types of maltreatment:
- Nationwide, 70% to 80% of substantiated (determined to have occurred) child welfare cases involving young children are because of neglect1
- 20% of cases involve physical abuse
- 10% involve sexual abuse
- 11% involve other types of abuse or failure of supervision2
Percentages do not add to 100% because some cases involve more than one type of abuse and/or neglect.
Rates of substantiated child abuse have declined over time in the US, but rates of substantiated neglect have not. Children’s actual exposure to neglectful circumstances may be higher than reported.3
Of those responsible for child maltreatment nationwide in 2012:
- 82% were parents
- 12% were non-parents, most often a male relative or male partner of a parent
- 6% were unknown4
Rates of maltreatment by gender and race nationwide in 2012, per 1,000 children:5
- Girls: 9.5
- Boys: 8.7
- American Indian/Alaska Native: 12.4
- Asian: 1.7
- Black: 14.2
- Hispanic: 8.4
- Multiracial: 10.3
- Pacific Islander: 8.7
- White: 8.0
Rates of maltreatment by child’s age:
The youngest children are the most vulnerable to child maltreatment. Nationwide, in 2012,
- 47% of all cases involved children ages five or younger
- 27% involved children under age three
- Children under age three account for seven in ten child maltreatment deaths.6