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We have created this site because state health departments can play a leading role in child maltreatment prevention through programs and services that enhance family resiliency and foster positive child development. With public health infrastructure existing in every state and territory within the United States, the public health system is well-positioned to create a prevention system for children and families. We hope the information provided in this site is helpful in supporting your efforts to promote the health and well-being of children.

This work was supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

In partnership with National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC), Division of Violence Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the CDC Foundation

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State Examples

Comprehensive child maltreatment surveillance system created through data linkages in Alaska

[Strategy 2.2: Surveillance]

A key component of the Alaska Division of Public Health’s (DPH) child maltreatment prevention efforts is the Surveillance of Child Abuse and Neglect (SCAN) Program. The program serves as the central source for standardized child maltreatment-related morbidity and mortality data. Ongoing systematic collection and analysis of comprehensive maltreatment data allows the state to assess the burden, estimate the costs associated with maltreatment, and evaluate programmatic impact. The SCAN program uses the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention child maltreatment surveillance uniform definitions and data elementsExternal Website Link to increase the sensitivity of the system and increase nationwide comparability. In order to do state-wide child maltreatment surveillance, the SCAN program has worked to develop strong data sharing partnerships within the health department and with other state organizations, such as the state Department of Education and Early Development, Office of Children’s Services (child protective services), the Children’s Trust Fund, the Department of Public Safety (law enforcement), local law enforcement, hospitals, Alaska Native tribal organizations, and child advocacy centers. This work is strengthened by Memoranda of Agreement (MOA) with these entities that allow for, and institutionalize, data sharing. The annual linkage of records from various cross-jurisdictional sources provides information about child maltreatment trends and risk factors; assists in identification of areas for high-impact prevention efforts; and is utilized in the development of appropriate primary prevention public health initiatives and direct interventions. Surveillance efforts have helped to not just identify the burden of child maltreatment in the state, but have also been critical in focusing resources and efforts on primary prevention in addition to intervention services. Even more important has been the effort to provide data to child maltreatment prevention stakeholders and the public in easy to understand language through both publications and presentations. SCAN program staff feel that this has been is beneficial in increasing an understanding of the child maltreatment burden in the state and using this information to inform programs and initiatives. The health department uses data from multiple standard sources, including:

  • Pregnancy Risk Assessment and Monitoring System (PRAMS);
  • the Childhood Understanding Behavior Survey (CUBs) -- a post PRAMS survey of three year olds;
  • vital records;
  • hospital discharge records;
  • Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS); and
  • Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS).

The SCAN program has also made significant progress linking program data such as:

  • Women Infant and Children (WIC),
  • Medicaid,
  • adolescent health,
  • dating and intimate partner violence,
  • prenatal domestic violence screening, and
  • child abuse screening in dentists offices.

As a leader in child maltreatment surveillance, the health department has a unique and valued role in state-level child maltreatment prevention efforts, realized through the SCAN program and a dedicated epidemiologist staff position. For more information visit, Website Link