March | April 2019

OJJDP Administrator’s Video Message: National Child Abuse Prevention Month

Each April, our nation renews its commitment to preventing the physical, emotional, and sexual abuse of children. Sadly, too many kids are mistreated and abused. According to a report published by the Department of Health and Human Services, in fiscal year 2017, 3.5 million children received a child protective services investigation or alternative response. This is actually a 10-percent increase from 2013. The negative effects of abuse can last a lifetime—including failure in school, depression, substance abuse, or involvement in the juvenile or criminal justice systems. We have to do better.

All across the country, communities are coming together during the month of April to raise awareness about healthy parenting practices, child safety skills, and local and federal resources that are available to help ensure the safety and well-being of children and families.

OJJDP is partnering with the Children’s Bureau in HHS to recognize Child Abuse Prevention Month and join their WE CAN Work to End Child Abuse and Neglect social media campaign. The OJJDP-supported National Children’s Alliance has launched the SHINE Campaign, which lifts up the voices of survivors and provides practical steps for prevention. Our National Mentoring Resource Center is offering special webinars and blogs this month to highlight creative partnerships between mentoring organizations and social service agencies—partnerships that have proven highly effective in supporting youth and strengthening families.

Through our Victims of Child Abuse programs, OJJDP is working every day to stop maltreatment and neglect—and help children and families heal. We fund local children’s advocacy centers, which promote evidence-based practices and a multidisciplinary approach for investigating, intervening in, and prosecuting child abuse. The centers offer therapy and medical exams, plus courtroom preparation, victim advocacy, case management, and other services. With OJJDP’s support, 881 local children’s advocacy centers provided services to nearly 335,000 children last year.

We also support court appointed special advocates—known as CASA programs—in communities nationwide. CASA volunteers advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children—in court, as well as in other settings. In 2018 alone, 937 CASA programs provided a voice to more than 233,000 abused and neglected children.

OJJDP is hosting a meeting of the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention in Washington, DC, on June 13. The focus of the meeting will be child abuse prevention and intervention. We hope you’ll join us and hear from experts such as Victor Vieth, Director of Education and Research with the Zero Abuse Project. Victor will speak about how innovative programs like Child Advocacy Studies—or CAST curriculum—offered in various colleges and universities are helping prepare the next generation of child welfare practitioners to eradicate child maltreatment.

I am personally thankful for all the dedicated professionals and community volunteers working to bring the day closer when all America’s children are free from violence. Together, we can all make a difference.

For more information on OJJDP’s efforts to ensure the safety and well-being of children, please visit our Child Abuse Prevention page at