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Child Abuse Negl. 1994 May;18(5):473-85.

Evaluating a community intervention to reduce the risk of child abuse: methodological strategies in conducting neighborhood surveys.

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Department of Maternal and Child Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA.


Building on the ecological approach to child abuse, the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect is supporting a number of community-based prevention initiatives. One such program, based in Boston, is designed to build a caring community in which families can be empowered to break patterns of abusive and neglectful behavior. Independent evaluation is central to the program. A multi-level strategy has been designed, incorporating information from census and other databases, from random household surveys, and from families participating directly in services provided. This paper reports on the second level of the evaluation, designed to assess community social support, attitudes about parenting, perceptions of the neighborhood, and ways in which these may relate to child abuse. Perceptions of the extent of danger and disorganization in the neighborhood were significantly related to a sense of attachment to the community, and to disciplinary strategies. Parents who perceived more danger were stricter. They also tended to be born locally rather than being immigrants. Place of birth was associated with variation in parenting styles, suggesting that patterns of in- and out-migration are important variables in planning and executing a community based child abuse prevention program.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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