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:

  • Nourished
  • 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

Show 4 footnotes

  1.  Serve and Return. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  2. Schorr, L. B. & Marchand, V. (2007). Pathway to Children Ready for School and Succeeding at Third Grade. Retrieved from
  3. Schorr, Pathway to Children Ready, op cit.
  4. Schorr, Pathway to Children Ready, op cit.

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Per 1000 NC children were investigated/assessed for child abuse or neglect

Data provided and analyzed by UNC Jordan Institute for Families, July 2015

of all US child abuse and neglect cases involved children ages 5 or younger

National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. (2014). Child Maltreatment: Facts at a Glance.

protective factors strengthen families and reduce abuse and neglect

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:

Protective Factors:

  • Social support
  • High quality reliable out-of-home child care
  • Access to treatment for depression
  • Safe and stable housing

Risk Factors:

  • Poverty
  • Social isolation
  • Absence of supportive adults
  • Violence in the home or neighborhood

Research-based based policies, practices and programs that providers, communities and North Carolina can take to keep children safe at home.

Show 1 footnote

  1. Schorr, L. B. & Marchand, V. (2007). Pathway to Children Ready for School and Succeeding at Third Grade. Retrieved from

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