Making the Public Case for Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention: A FrameWorks Report

Commissioned by Prevent Child Abuse America, with funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, this 2004 report presents findings from the FrameWorks Institute’s research on how Americans view child abuse, neglect, and maltreatment in general, as well their reactions to specific reforms and arguments that child policy advocates have advanced in an effort to move beyond public acceptance of tertiary efforts to public prioritization of primary prevention policies. In addition to original research conducted for this project, this report is also informed by several years of investigation by the FrameWorks Institute on early child development and children’s issues funded by the A. L. Mailman Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child at Brandeis University.

The goal of this work is to evaluate the existing body of research available to Prevent Child Abuse America against the findings that emerge from new research, and to identify promising ways to reframe these issues in ways that engage people in prevention, motivate them to prioritize proven policies and programs, and overcome existing mental roadblocks. To that end, this report attempts to describe the translation process necessary to engage the public in solutions by identifying specific practices that research suggests would advance public understanding, as well as those that are likely to impede it.

The findings reported here result from an integrated series of research projects commissioned on behalf of Prevent Child Abuse America by the FrameWorks Institute, based on the perspective of strategic frame analysis. Additionally, this report extends this descriptive research by providing another level of more speculative analysis to inform the work of policy advocates. Finally, this report synthesizes these findings and makes specific recommendations for incorporating these findings into ongoing communications campaigns related to child abuse and neglect prevention.

View and download the executive summary.

View and download the full report.