Best Practices

Child Abuse Prevention

Child abuse is defined within the Colorado Revised statutes as an act or omission by a person that causes injury or the death of a child. Child neglect is characterized by failure to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care or supervision to a child that a prudent parent would provide. Colorado also includes emotional abuse and sexual abuse in its definition of child abuse. Approximately 60 percent of all child maltreatment is neglect (in Colorado and nationwide).


The rate of child abuse in Colorado is currently 9.0 children per thousand. This number represents individual children whose abuse has been substantiated through an investigative process, usually conducted by local departments of social services and child welfare. While this rate is lower than the national rate of 12.4, recent data shows that some Colorado counties have reported significant increases in child abuse in 2004.


Since Battered Child Syndrome was first identified in the early 1960s, much research has been conducted regarding the prevention of child abuse. This research often cites risk factors and indicates methods by which these factors may be minimized to decrease their influence on the healthy development of children. Typical risk factors include young age of mother, first birth to mother and lack of education. Other risk factors are social isolation (especially from extended family) and lack of community services.


Background Documents


Evidence-Based Programs

 Recommended Strategies

Related Colorado Programs


Related Topics



General Resources/National Organizations


Parent Education Models/Curricula/Related Information

Respite Care

Involving Fathers in Child Abuse Prevention

Shaken Baby Syndrome

 Abandoned Babies

Newborn Lifeline Network