Pediatric and Primary Care Professionals and Their Role in Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect

Pediatric and Primary Care professionals have a unique position that makes them partners in the mission to prevent abuse before it ever occurs. Prevent Child Abuse America has taken a position on this issue.

A Resolution on Pediatric and Primary Care Professionals and Their Role in Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect

Whereas, research indicates that parents turn to their doctors and other healthcare professionals for parenting advice second only to their own mothers.3

Whereas, pediatricians treat the preponderance of infants and preschoolers and are increasingly consulted and recognized as the primary health care experts for older children and adolescents.2

Whereas, pediatricians are in a unique position to capitalize on “their status in the community as physicians, their expertise, and their programmatic and political connections to create opportunities to expand and improve health and social services for children”.1

Whereas, programs such as STAGES help parents, pediatricians, primary care professionals, and community-based prevention organizations work together to ensure that families receive the knowledge and support they need to provide nurturing and healthy environments for children.

Therefore, be it resolved, that Prevent Child Abuse America supports:

An open and ongoing relationship between primary care professionals and parents, whereby pediatricians can monitor and guide developmental progress, address parental concerns, and support parental care, capacities and needs.4

Providing parents with informative, easy-to-use materials that discuss child related issues (i.e. child development), as well as providing parents with information on community resources.

Implementing programs, such as STAGES, which help pediatricians and primary care professionals learn how to better communicate with parents and work with community-based prevention programs to learn about resources available to families and prevention efforts existing in the community.

Researching the effectiveness of programs that target pediatricians, nurse practitioners, and other primary care professionals as the primary source to assist in reducing child abuse and neglect.


  1. Woodwell D. Office visits to pediatric specialists 1989 (1992). Advance Data, January 17, 1992 (208). 1989 National Ambulatory Medical care Survey. Vital and Health Statistics of the National Center for Health Statistics. Washington, DC: US Department of Health and Human Services.
  2. Grason, Holly, et al (1999). “Pediatrician-Led Community Child Health Initiatives: Case Summaries from the Evaluation of the Community Access to Child Health Program.” Pediatrics. June 1, 1999.
  3. Scmitt, B.D. (1987) “Seven Deadly Sins of Childhood: Advising Parents About Developmental Phases”. Child Abuse and Neglect. II(3), pg. 10.
  4. The Pediatrician’s Role in Family Support Programs. (2001) Pediatrics, (Volume 107, Number 1) January 2001, pp 195-197.

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