Posted: June 30, 2021
By: Carlye Wittek, Prevent Child Abuse NC Policy Associate

Severe and persistent stress can overload our ability to manage emotions. This helps to explain why child abuse and neglect rates have historically increased during recessions. We also know that reducing family economic burdens and adding supports can make a huge difference, quickly. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a time when we have all experienced extreme stress and many families have struggled financially. Providing stable incomes and concrete financial supports can reduce the load on families across North Carolina. Every policy we set – from tax credits to paid leave – should reduce that financial stress on families and increase the time and capacity for supportive family relationships. We can build strong, safe, stable families by building concrete economic supports, unlocking the potential to invest in effective public policy that can prevent child maltreatment and reduce foster care entries. Being a parent can be an incredibly stressful role, and the pandemic has shone a light on how systems have failed families. From a lack of childcare so parents can return to work to an absence of paid leave so employees can take time away to care for themselves or their loved ones, the inadequate supports for families have been especially difficult for communities of people of color.  As a society it is our responsibility to invest in the future of families by supporting policies that support parents and children.  

Researched- based policy solutions like refundable state earned income tax credits, paid family and medical leave, evidence-based home visiting and parenting education programs augmented with concrete supports, and increased access to quality, affordable childcare are policies that can create the safe, stable, and nurturing environments children need to thrive.  

The Policy Team at Prevent Child Abuse NC (PCANC) is excited to share with you our report on how Economic Supports Can Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect. The report includes research-based and North Carolina focused recommendations for how we can invest in children and families, ultimately reducing the number of children in foster care, and preventing child maltreatment. 

Research has shown that providing families with stronger household financial security through economic supports is a primary prevention strategy that reduces stress and therefore the likelihood of incidences of abuse and neglect. We can create a more equitable system by investing upstream in families. 

PCANC’s Policy Team is committed to advocating for policies that strengthen families and prevent child maltreatment. We can prevent child abuse and neglect, North Carolina!  

Please reach out to PCANC’s Policy Director, Melea Rose-Waters, with any questions or to further this important conversation.  

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