The Northeast Ohio Regional Prevention Plan communicates the Regional Prevention Council’s strategies and funding requests for preventing child abuse and neglect in the 11 counties of Northeast Ohio.
The plan also summarizes the factors affecting child abuse and neglect in Northeast Ohio and the most pressing needs for families, which were identified during the needs assessment process.
Northeast Ohio Risk Factors
The working group identified the heroin and opiate use epidemic as having a significant, negative impact on child abuse and neglect in the region as children are removed from homes and can’t be placed with other relatives because of their own addictions.
Additional factors that may influence the prevalence of child abuse and neglect in the region include:
- Deprivation of basic needs
- A rise in grandparents or other relatives raising children
- Single women who are heads of household
- Concerns about quality child care and adequate resources to meet community needs
Prevention Strategies for Northeast Ohio
The Northeast Ohio Regional Prevention Plan identifies three main prevention strategies for funding.
Strengthening Families Framework
This strategy involves a coordinated approach to bring together programs for children and adults to give families more opportunities to succeed and thrive. A two-generation approach better equips parents with ways to be involved with children’s development and to deal with stress. The strategy is designed to:
- Provide concrete support in times of need
- Promote social and emotional competence of children, and
- Increase knowledge of parenting and child development.
As part of this strategy, the Regional Prevention Council supports the following:
- Provide the Strengthening Families Framework to early education and care providers throughout the region.
- Increase caregivers' knowledge of early childhood development, and improves their understanding of health and safety issues.
- Improve the quality of childcare services in the region.
- Enhance school readiness among children ages birth to eight.
Strengthening Protective Factors of Parents/Caregivers
This strategy involves targeting single mothers, grandparents raising grandchildren, and other relatives raising children (also known as kinship care providers) for programs to increase their resilience, social connections, and concrete supports in times of need.
- Innovative programming that may include parent education to provide support and promote the necessary skills to effectively nurture and manage children's and youth's behavior.
- Formal facilitation of programming and guidance by professionals with peer connections and on-going support.
- Evidence-based, best practice curriculums.
- A focus on recruitment and retention: Innovative methods are needed to make programming accessible to target populations through outreach and addressing barriers (e.g. childcare needs, scheduling conflicts, convenient locations and transportation options) to participation.
- Community collaboration.
Home Visiting Program for WIC Recipients with Children Ages 3-5
This strategy involves a pilot program targeting participants in the Women, Infants and Children program in Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties for an evidence-based home visiting curriculum intended to increase their knowledge of parenting and child development and concrete supports in times of need.
These counties were chosen because of the high levels of poverty and increased levels of medical neglect and psychological and emotional maltreatment in recent years compared to other counties in the region.
The pilot program includes:
- Innovative programming that includes parent education to provide support and to promote the necessary skills to effectively nurture and manage children's behavior.
- Combination of formal facilitation of programming and guidance by professionals with ongoing support.
- Evidence-based, best practice curriculums.
- A focus on recruitment and retention with the WIC offices as a target population.
The Regional Prevention Council identifies four strategies for parent leadership and involvement in preventing child abuse and neglect.
- Supporting involvement from parents, residents, and professionals in the local community and having parent representation on the Regional Prevention Council.
- Having marketing materials developed by the Regional Prevention Council and work group reviewed by the Stark County Family Engagement Committee to ensure they are engaging and family-friendly.
- Scheduling on-site visits with the Strengthening Families Framework project director and also inviting members of the Regional Prevention Council, as well as family/consumer representatives.
- Including a parent involvement component in the Strengthening Families Framework strategy.