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Prevent Child Abuse America Awarded $500K to Focus on Child and Family Well-being through Prevention and Equity

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Chicago—Prevent Child Abuse America (PCA America) announced today a $500,000 grant to support efforts that reduce the need for families to become involved with child protection agencies. The award will fund work advancing Thriving Families, Safer Children: A National Commitment to Well-being, an initiative that aims to reshape child welfare in the United States by focusing explicitly on equity and prevention across development, proactively creating the conditions and contexts for strong families and communities across the country.

Thriving Families, Safer Children leverages partners across the public, private and philanthropic sectors to fundamentally transform a system that currently focuses narrowly on child abuse and neglect after the fact,” explained Dr. Melissa Merrick, president & CEO of PCA America. “Instead, we need to shift our attention to a more proactive and holistic approach that ensures the safe, stable and nurturing environments and relationships which enable children and youth, families and entire communities to thrive—today and for generations to come.”

Thriving Families, Safer Children partners PCA America with the Annie E. Casey Foundation, grantor of the $500,000 award; Casey Family Programs and the United States Children’s Bureau in a tiered project that brings together relevant agencies and stakeholders in competitively selected communities in Colorado, South Carolina, Nebraska and Los Angeles County, California.

“To help ensure the strength and viability of this work, this grant is designed to help establish and advance new partnerships and strategic initiatives within the states and localities,” said Sandra Gasca-Gonzalez, vice president of the Casey Foundation’s Center for Systems Innovation.

“Given PCA America’s decades-long role in promoting primary prevention and its expertise in the field, as well as its strong national state chapter network, they are well-suited to support these partners in moving from traditional, reactive child protection systems to forward-looking systems designed to strengthen child and family well-being and prevent child maltreatment and unnecessary family separation,” added Gasca-Gonzalez.

Specifically, the first cohort of partners will receive technical assistance and support to help remove and reduce administrative and financial barriers. Additionally, based on the unique strengths and needs of each system and partnership, PCA America will award capacity-building seed grants from these funds.

“If our goal is to develop more just and equitable systems that benefit all children and families, then we must invest in people, communities and the specific strategies in those communities that are shown to break harmful intergenerational cycles of trauma and poverty,” continued Merrick. “That’s what Thriving Families, Safer Children aims to do. Tier One communities can then serve as replicable, scalable models for the entire country, creating a new era for child well-being.”

About Prevent Child Abuse America

Prevent Child Abuse America is a leading champion for all children in the United States. Founded in 1972 and headquartered in Chicago, we are the nation’s oldest and largest organization dedicated to the primary prevention of child abuse and neglect, working to actively prevent all forms of child abuse and neglect before they occur. Our success is founded on a nationwide network of state chapters and nearly 600 Healthy Families America home visiting sites, which directly provide parents and caregivers a wide variety of services and resources that help children grow up to be productive, contributing members of their communities and society. Our comprehensive approach is informed by science—we translate and disseminate innovative research to promote proven solutions that our vast network then puts into action. And we raise public awareness and advocate for family friendly policies at the national, state and local levels to support transformative programs and promote the conditions and contexts that help children, families and communities across the country thrive. Visit to learn more.

About The Annie E. Casey Foundation

The Annie E. Casey Foundation is a private philanthropy that creates a brighter future for the nation’s children by developing solutions to strengthen families, build paths to economic opportunity and transform struggling communities into safer and healthier places to live, work and grow. Visit to learn more.

Charles Mutscheller
Chief Communications Officer


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