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The Prevalence of Safe, Stable, Nurturing Relationships Among Children and Adolescents

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2017
14 pages
This bulletin presents the methodology and findings of a study of safe, stable, nurturing relationships (SSNR) among children and youth in the United States, using a nationally representative sample.
The U.S. Justice Department's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) created the Safe Start Initiative (SSI) in June 1999 to prevent and reduce the impact of children's exposure to violence. As part of the SSI, OJJDP partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in developing the National Survey of Children's Exposure to Violence (NatSCEV). The current study relied on the findings of NatSCEV II, which obtained prevalence estimates of a wide range of childhood victimization and information about parenting practices, social support, and stressful life events. It obtained information on a national sample of 4,503 children and youth ages 1 month to 17 years old in 2011. Employees of an experienced survey research firm conducted the study interviews over the phone. The survey determined that approximately one in four children and adolescents ages 5-15 lives in family environments with only modest levels of safety, stability, and nurture; and approximately 1 in 15 had consistently low levels across multiple domains. A shortage of safe, stable, nurturing relationships was most prominent among older adolescents and children living in non-traditional family structures. Relationships and environments that were free of violence and threats were paramount for child and adolescent well-being. Strategies focused on helping families maintain stable and nurturing home environments were also important; however, survey results showed the importance of a focus on reducing exposure to violence and other family conditions that threaten a child's safety, such as harsh parenting and family drug and alcohol problems. 2 figures, 1 table, 42 references, and appended supplementary data

Date Published: September 1, 2017