National Child Welfare Association

Child Abuse Prevention

woman holding child - photo by Kristin Beadle



(503) 222-4044

The federal government designates April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month. The National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA) works to provide Indian communities with resources and ideas to raise awareness and prevent child abuse. We sent a packet of information to each tribes' ICWA program to empower the people of each of our communities in preventing child abuse. Even though April is over, we still need to prevent Child Abuse, and your help counts.

Child Abuse Prevention in Indian Country

Child abuse prevention has been historically and remains one of the most basic aspects of American Indian culture. The practices of prevention - though not labeled as such - are embedded in centuries-old spiritual beliefs, child-rearing methods, extended family roles, and systems of clans, bands, or societies. This natural system of child protection and child abuse prevention has been threatened over time by forced assimilation, relocation, externally imposed social services, alcoholism, and poverty, but the traditions and values have survived. The old teachings, values, and family systems are still at the core of that child maltreatment prevention in Indian country, but more formal community responses are also in place.

The Problem

Of the 405,000 American Indian children in the United States today, 28,000 (or 7%) are thought to be at risk for abuse and/or neglect each year. 95% of these cases are substance abuse related. Almost 10,000 American Indian children are currently in foster homes or other out-of-home care situations. In addition, even after the passage of the Indian Child Welfare Act, more than 50,000 Indian children live away from their cultural roots, as adoptees in non-Indian families. SOURCE: American Humane Association, April 1997 Child Protection Leader, American Indian Children; Improving the Child Protection Response.

The Solution

There is a solution. It is called prevention. Prevention has been proven to work. Together, we can change these terrible statistics.

For the past three and one-half years, our organization has helped American Indians to be a part of the solution and take charge in their communities. As a result, grassroots child abuse prevention efforts have sprung up around the country.

You can be part of the solution. Start a community child abuse prevention committee--even two people can get prevention off to a start. For more information or materials, contact our office. Our telephone number is (503) 222-4044 and FAX number is (503) 222-4007.

May the Creator watch over the children and families of your community.

Child Abuse Prevention Resources

99 Ideas for Preventing Child Abuse in American Indian Communities PDF

Planning, Kick-off activities, Mass Media Activities, Public Awareness Activities, Organizational Activities, Schools, Activities with Tribal Governments and American Indian Leaders, Activities with other organizations, Activities involving the religious and spiritual communitiies, Fund Raising activities, and Resources.

American Academy of Pediatrics

Guidelines for the Evaluation of Sexual Abuse of Children: Subject Review
The role of the physician is outlined with respect to obtaining a history, physical examination, and appropriate laboratory data and in determining the need to report sexual abuse.

Division 37 of the American Psychological Association

An Introduction to Child Maltreatment
The Division of Child, Youth, and Family Services of the APA has developed a five-unit lesson plan for use in secondary schools.

Family Support America

Child Abuse Prevention and Family Support

National Academy Press

Understanding Child Abuse and Neglect
This online book has chapters on etiology of child maltreatment, consequences, interventions and treatment, and ethical and legal issues.

Child Welfare Information Gateway

How to Report Suspected Child Maltreatment
Citizens who suspect that a child is being maltreated, or children who are being maltreated, can call the Childhelp USA National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453). This hotline is available 24/7.

Child Welfare Information Gateway Information

Child Neglect: A Guide For Intervention
The guide is aimed at increasing understanding of child neglect and ways to assess, intervene, and prevent the problem.