Task Force on Child Abuse Prevention

Child maltreatment is a devastating social problem that affects the lives of millions of children in the United States each year. In North Carolina, a child is mistreated every 15 minutes by a parent or caretaker. Effects of maltreatment on the social, cognitive, and emotional development of children can be far-reaching and, in many cases, irreparable. Despite the enormous social and economic costs of child maltreatment in North Carolina, child maltreatment prevention has received little attention or resources from state policy makers. The NCIOM Task Force on Child Abuse Prevention studied this issue and developed a strategic plan to address child abuse prevention.
Full Report | Chapters | Update
Carmen Hooker Odum
Department of Health and Human Services
Marian Earls, MD, FAAP
Medical Director
Guilford Health, Inc.
The NCIOM Task Force on Child Abuse Prevention was charged with developing a statewide strategic plan to prevent child abuse and neglect. In the past, most of the attention and state resources have focused on investigating cases of abuse and neglect and providing child welfare services. While child protective services are important, the goal of this task force was to develop a vision for preventing child maltreatment from occurring in the first place. To this end, the Task Force developed a statewide plan to prevent child maltreatment. The plan:

  • Included different levels of intervention, including universal, selected and indicated programs that target children, families, and communities that are based on empirical research (to the extent possible).

  • Established indicators to help identify progress towards the goal of reducing child maltreatment, along with an evaluation timetable to measure progress towards this goal.

  • Identified a state agency or agencies that has preventing child maltreatment as one of its principal responsibilities, along with a set of recommendations on the resources needed to carry out this responsibility.

  • Focused governmental and nongovernmental organizations on programs and systems of care that will reduce the incidence of child maltreatment.

  • Identified ways to maximize existing funding or retool existing programs to prevent child maltreatment.

  • Examined gaps in existing programs or resources needed to prevent child maltreatment along with identifying possible funding sources.

  • Identified additional measures that more accurately reflect the incidence of child maltreatment and prevention efforts.

Carmen Hooker Odom, Secretary of the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS), and Marian Earls, MD, FAAP, Medical Director of Guilford Child Health, Inc., co-chaired the Task Force. The Task Force included representatives of state government, including legislators, NC DHHS Division Directors, NC Juvenile Justice Commission and Department of Public Instruction, as well as county agencies, non-profit service and advocacy organizations, health professionals, the faith community and university professionals. The Task Force was a collaborative effort between the NC Institute of Medicine and Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina, and was supported by a grant from The Duke Endowment.