Public Policy


At Prevent Child Abuse America, we take an official position on issues vital to the well-being of our nation’s children and families. See our full 2020 federal public policy agenda (a summary version is also available) and our 2020 state policy agenda, and visit our Policy Action Center to take action on important legislation.

Research shows that investing in healthy child development reduces the likelihood of a significant array of costly conditions, including chronic health problems, premature mortality, lowered educational achievement, lost productivity, mental illness, violent crime, substance abuse and addiction, and the perpetuation of abuse and neglect.

Prevent Child Abuse America advocates for polices, legislation, and programs that promote healthy child development and prevent child abuse and neglect from occurring in the first place. Our Public Policy program operates on the national level, mobilizing support for federal policies and providing technical support to help facilitate effective advocacy at the state and local levels.

We believe we can be most effective for children and families through collaboration. To this end, we work closely with our state chapters and Healthy Families America sites across the country who are addressing issues on state and local levels. Our national efforts are combined with over 50 professional organizations through our participation on a number of coalitions, including the Children’s Leadership Council, the National Child Abuse Coalition, and the National Home Visiting Coalition.

What is Advocacy?

Becoming an advocate doesn’t need to feel intimidating. Policymakers benefit from hearing about the issues that are of the most concern to their constituents and welcome that feedback.

You are already an advocate if you have ever:

  • Posted about an issue that’s important to you on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media sites
  • Given your opinion in a town meeting
  • Returned a faulty product to a store
  • Stood up for someone who was being unfairly treated in a public place
  • Written a letter to a business about poor or outstanding services received, or
  • Gone to City Hall to complain about a property tax bill that seems too high

Being an advocate gives you the opportunity to encourage the public and policy-makers to prioritize and act on issues that benefit children and families. Together, we can ensure that the institutions and policies are operating effectively to foster healthy child development and prevent child abuse and neglect.

Help advocate for children and families in your community today. Click here to contact your local elected officials today and let them know that you support policies and programs that promote healthy child development and the prevention of abuse and neglect. For more information, please contact Marissa Morabito, Chief Government Affairs & Policy Officer.

Read our Position Statements

We take an official position on issues vital to the well-being of our nation’s children and families.

These position statements and resolutions formalize our viewpoint on public policies and issues that pertain to the prevention of child abuse and neglect. They provide a framework for our staff as it performs such activities as responding to legislation, the media, and judicial proceedings, as well as participating in public activities or events.

We have six position statements which speak to issues core to our mission. Five of these statements were updated and approved by the Prevent Child Abuse America Board of Directors in 2010, and the statement on Bullying/Peer Abuse was approved in May, 2014.

Preventing Bullying / Peer Abuse
Position Statement

Promoting Child Development by Supporting Families
Position Statement

Preventing Child Physical Abuse
Position Statement

Preventing Child Neglect
Position Statement

Preventing Child Sexual Abuse
Position Statement

Preventing Child Emotional Abuse
Position Statement

Resolutions on Public Policy

We also have a body of resolutions that provide recommendations on public policy and legislation that are central but not core to Prevent Child Abuse America’s mission.

Early Childhood Development 
Prevent Child Abuse America supports directing significant resources to children ages 0-5, the period most critical to human development. We support implementing and evaluating programs and services that start at birth, such as voluntary home visitation, parent education and information and early childhood education programs.

Family Economic Stability and Its Link to Child Welfare 
Prevent Child Abuse America supports providing services aimed at reducing poverty and fostering economic stability. Such services include education and vocational training, substance abuse rehabilitation, housing services, health insurance, domestic violence counseling, and child welfare services, among others to help bring low-income families to self-sufficiency. We also support adding poverty reduction as one of the purposes of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and broadening the set of activities that fulfill TANF work requirements to include mental health and substance abuse treatment, parent support groups, and home-visiting programs and related family support programs.

Parent Mutual Self-Help Support Groups
Prevent Child Abuse America supports implementing and evaluating mutual self-help support groups that are free, confidential, anonymous, non-judgmental, and promote positive, non-abusive parenting and parent leadership. We support building public awareness of the benefits of parent support groups, such as Circle of Parents, in preventing child abuse and neglect.

Pediatric and Primary Care Professionals and their Role in Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect 
Prevent Child Abuse America supports an on-going 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. We also support the implementation and evaluation of services, such as STAGES, which help pediatricians and primary care professionals learn how to communicate better with parents and work with community-based prevention programs to learn about resources available to families.

Prenatal Care 
Prevent Child Abuse America supports funding and research for programs that promote early prenatal care, prenatal bonding activities, maternal stress reduction techniques, and parent education, including voluntary home visiting services that provide support to pregnant women and their families throughout pregnancy and beyond. We also support implementing accessible and affordable classes through hospitals, clinics, and other medical establishments that educate pregnant women and expectant fathers on how best to care for expectant mothers.

Sexual Solicitation of Youth on the Internet 
Prevent Child Abuse America supports educating parents and children about the risks associated with online communication, and teaching parents how to protect their children from the covert techniques used by sexual solicitors on the Internet. We also support educating the public on how and where to report cases of sexual solicitation and providing mental health services, medical attention and tools to help avoid future victimization to those who have suffered mentally and/or physically from sexual solicitation.

Child Care 
Prevent Child Abuse America supports making high-quality child care affordable and accessible to all families. Prevent Child Abuse America  also supports the provision of child care-related education and livable wages to child care workers in order to build a more qualified, stable and better-paid workforce.

Corporal Punishment
Prevent Child Abuse America supports banning, in every state, the use of corporal punishment against children in all schools and institutions. Prevent Child Abuse America also advocates for providing initial and ongoing training to all teachers and staff on alternative means of discipline.

Domestic Violence
Prevent Child Abuse America supports the development of comprehensive, community-based prevention and intervention programs that seek to prevent family violence and support parents. Prevent Child Abuse America  also supports advocacy efforts to increase funding for domestic violence agencies, and to coordinate services among such agencies, the child protection system, and the family and criminal court systems.

Early Hospital Discharge of Mothers and Newborns
Prevent Child Abuse America supports allowing parents and their doctors determine the length of post-pregnancy stay and additional postpartum visits, based on the health and stability of the baby and the parent’s confidence and ability to care for the child.

Gun Safety
Prevent Child Abuse America supports using safety devices on guns, educating parents and children about the risks of having guns in the home as well as the importance of gun safety measures, and encouraging parents to inquire about the presence of firearms in homes their children visit.

Home Visiting
Prevent Child Abuse America supports making home visiting services available on a voluntary basis to expectant parents and families with newborns and young children to promote positive parenting skills and healthy child development, and to prevent child abuse and neglect.

Judicial Proceedings
Prevent Child Abuse America supports revising courtroom procedures to make them less intimidating to the child. These revisions include: allowing the child’s testimony to be videotaped, reducing the size of the courtroom audience, using hearsay evidence in preliminary hearings and/or asking the defendant to leave the room during a child’s testimony. Prevent Child Abuse America  also supports fostering multidisciplinary collaborations, such as child advocacy centers, which offer legal, medical and mental health services to children who are victims of maltreatment.

Therapeutic Care for Victims of Child Abuse
In order to break the cycle of child abuse, Prevent Child Abuse America supports efforts to offer diagnostic, therapeutic, and remedial services to child abuse victims and their families. Prevent Child Abuse America also supports research and evaluation projects that aim at determining the effectiveness of such services with regard to victims of different ages, cultural backgrounds, and circumstances.

Use of Addictive Substances During Pregnancy
Prevent Child Abuse America supports educating expectant parents about the risks of drug, alcohol, and tobacco use during pregnancy, and fostering collaboration among child abuse advocates and substance abuse experts in order to address the issue of pregnancy and addiction.

Violence in the Media
Prevent Child Abuse America supports reductions in the amount of violence depicted in all forms of media, including but not limited to television, feature films, computer and video games, and music lyrics and videos. Prevent Child Abuse America  also supports ongoing collaboration among parents, educators, advocacy groups, broadcasters and government in order to create additional hours of programming depicting positive, nonviolent themes in media.

Prevent Child Abuse America supports encouraging all schools to create and implement an anti-bullying policy to promote a safe learning environment for all children.

On Mandatory Reporting by Clergy Suspected of Abuse
Prevent Child Abuse America supports that no state should exempt clergy from laws that mandate the reporting of suspected child abuse except in cases of the clergy/penitent relationship as may be allowed by state law.

On Religious Exemptions to Child Abuse/Neglect
Prevent Child Abuse America supports repealing religious exemptions in medical situations that are life-threatening or potentially disabling to a child.