County Prevention Planning

“No child suffers from abuse or neglect.”  This is California’s vision, articulated by the Office of Child Abuse Prevention (OCAP). Strategies TA, with a grant from the OCAP, provides technical assistance to California counties to build strong collaborative networks and develop prevention to meet this vision.

We support California counties to develop child and family enrichment plans that identify strategies and actions to reduce risk factors and build protective factors to meet the vision to prevent child abuse and neglect. The development of the county Prevention Plan is guided by these priorities:

  • Promoting strength-based approaches, such as integrating protective factors, as an essential prevention strategy.
  • Engaging and empowering parents as they support and advocate for their families and inform prevention service and policy systems.
  • Focus on high-need populations: Prevention strategies to address the needs of children and families impacted by over-representation in child welfare systems, child neglect, at-risk infants and children, vulnerable families, and poverty.
  • Cultural responsiveness and relevance: A focus on culturally responsive and relevant resources, best practice models, and implementation tools.
  • Effective, data-driven approaches: prevention planning for each county is based on analysis of data to inform decisions based on the best available evidence. In addition, we employ high-quality assessment strategies to monitor outcomes.
  • Building prevention partnerships: building local prevention partnerships through capacity building, models, and community resources results in a strong network with common goals who collaborate to implement the plan.

Click the links below for resources related to each element of the Prevention Plan.

MULTI-AGENCY COLLABORATION: Strategies and the Office of Child Abuse Prevention (OCAP) partner with counties whose Child Abuse Prevention Council (CAPC) and Child Welfare leadership agree to undertake a co-led, collaborative child abuse prevention planning process to engage key stakeholders and community members. The commitment of the CAPC and Child Welfare agency includes co-leading the planning effort, ongoing participation by leaders of the appropriate decision-making level, and the intent to use the Prevention Planning process to determine shared priorities and relevant collaboration and resource development and investment priorities. The prevention planning team will also include ongoing participation from decision-makers from government agencies and community organizations that are involved in the prevention of child abuse and neglect, with the aim of maximizing collective impact. This participation may be documented through Memoranda of Understanding, a Charter, or a similar document.

MISSION AND VISION: The county team defines a purpose for their Prevention collaborative and a concrete description of what success will look like for the Child Abuse Prevention Plan—in terms of reduced child maltreatment or ACEs and/or increased positive child, family, and community well-being.

COMMUNITY NEEDS ASSESSMENT: The county team conducts a data-based review of issues and needs faced by children, families, and communities regarding child abuse and neglect. This will include descriptions of protective as well as risk factors, dis-aggregated data to reflect areas of disproportionate impact, and data on equity of access to services and opportunities.

THEORY OF CHANGE: The collaborative partners describe their shared understanding as to what will bring about the desired change, making explicit the assumptions and cause-effect relationships underlying the approaches chosen. Defining the Theory of Change that the Prevention Plan is based on is critical to success, as it defines the ultimate impact sought (a reduction in child abuse and neglect) in measurable terms and describes the community and service system conditions that are the focus for realizing that change.

PREVENTION GOALS: Each county prevention team defines goals specific to their county environment and based on their needs assessment. The Prevention Plan focuses on Primary prevention goals to target “upstream” causes of child abuse and neglect by improving community conditions—the social determinants of health—and providing services and resources that are available to all families to strengthen protective factors and increase child well-being.  A county may also define secondary prevention goals that support families and children at risk of abuse and neglect, and tertiary prevention goals that focus on mitigation of trauma for children and families that have experienced abuse, and prevention of recurring abuse or neglect.

STRATEGIES: Each plan identifies the priority areas of action for the community to align and direct efforts and resources toward the achievement of Prevention Goals.

IMPLEMENTATION PLAN: The Implementation Plan defines specific activities with target dates and designated organizational/individual accountability for putting the strategies into action.

EVALUATION PLAN: Defining the ways that the progress and the impact of the Prevention Plan will be measured includes timelines, milestones, and methods for reviewing data on the implementation, outcomes, and impact of the Prevention Plan with the goal of defining actions to adjust plans and programs as identified by the data.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT PLAN: Engaging and responding to community voice at all stages of planning is key to ensuring that the Plan truly represents the needs of the community. This may include, but not be limited to, such strategies as community outreach, parent advisory boards, focus groups, community summits, and others.

DISPROPORTIONALITY PLAN: The Disproportionality Plan defines measures to respond to data and community concerns regarding the negative conditions and outcomes disproportionately experienced along variables of race/ethnicity, gender and gender identity, LGBTQ status, disability, and other variables. Development of this plan includes examining way to improve structural inequities in the service system and reduce barriers to access community services and resources.

RESOURCES/SUSTAINABILITY PLAN: How will the actions defined by the plan be funded and sustained?  Defining how funding and other resources will be aligned, pooled, and/or developed is key to ensuring the Plan’s immediate and future success.