Colorado's plan to reform the child- welfare
system and significantly reduce child abuse and neglect includes
sending social workers and nurses into the homes of at-risk families and
providing a network of help — ranging from teaching parents about
safety hazards to helping them find jobs.
One of the programs,
SafeCare, is for families who have been reported to child protective
services and have children 5 years old or younger, the age group that
accounts for 75 percent of abuse and neglect cases.
Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect,
which is partnering with the state to set up SafeCare, has a goal of
reducing child abuse and neglect in Colorado by half within seven years.
also plans to expand a program for young, first-time mothers who have
never been accused of abuse. The Nurse-Family Partnership sends nurses
into young moms' homes to counsel them on everything from budgeting to
coping with diaper rash.
And the state is beginning a "community
response" program with sites across the state that will help at-risk
families find child care, jobs, counseling and other help.
Reducing child abuse by 50 percent is ambitious, but Kempe Center
director Des Runyansaid it is achievable. The rate of domestic violence
in this country has dropped by 64 percent since 1994, according to a
Department of Justice report.