Essentials for Childhood takes an innovative approach to child maltreatment prevention

How a public health framework brings agencies together to enact family-friendly policies

By: Emily Hooks and Alison Miller | March 2022

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North Carolina Essentials for Childhood is proud to be the event partner for 2022 Kids: Empowered Communities Driving Change

Since 2013, the Division of Public Health (DPH), under the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, has been funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to develop and implement Essentials for Childhood, a public health framework for child maltreatment prevention. As a partner in this initiative, the North Carolina Institute of Medicine (NCIOM) has served as the backbone organization for the North Carolina Essentials for Childhood project to coordinate aligned work, convene a series of workgroups, and participate in statewide initiatives.

Partnerships for Family-Friendly Policies

In 2019, the North Carolina Essentials for Childhood project announced a new focus on strategies addressing social norms change and economic supports for families, specifically centered around family-friendly workplace policies. North Carolina Essentials for Childhood provides funding support to our partners engaged in these activities:

  • The North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation’s Family Forward NC (FFNC) initiative which focuses on improving children’s health and well-being and keeping North Carolina’s businesses competitive. Family Forward NC educates and engages employers about the value of providing family-friendly workplace benefits and encourages employers to add new family-friendly benefits to their workplaces. Since 2017, FFNC has engaged 6,527 employers across the state of North Carolina. Later this year, they will launch a Family Forward NC certification program, allowing North Carolina employers to become certified as a family-friendly workplace.
  • Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina’s awareness campaign, Connections Matter. Through a series of training modules, promotional strategies, and personal stories, the Connections Matter initiative aims to emphasize the importance of family and community relationships in building resilience for children impacted by trauma and other adverse childhood experiences. During the pandemic, Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina has helped non-profit organizations pivot to virtual service delivery, worked with partners to organize and adapt resources for organizations supporting families, and aligned with state and national partners to advocate for policies that support families.
  • NC Child’s 2021 Interactive County Data dashboard, which features data on children and families that is contextualized and disaggregated by race and ethnicity, and 2022 Kids, a two-day policy summit for North Carolina’s advocates for children. In February 2021, the NCIOM and NC Child published the 2021 Child Health Report Card, which provides county-level data on key indicators in four areas: healthy births, access to care, secure homes, and health risk factors. The Child Health Report Card also includes current data snapshots related to children’s health and the impact of the pandemic on children and families.
  • MomsRising’s ongoing work to build public awareness about the benefits of paid leave policies and increase community capacity for implementation at the local level. Throughout the pandemic, MomsRising has continued to advocate for paid sick leave, kin care, and safe days; partnered with FFNC and other organizations on a survey to assess family-friendly workplace policies in local government; and engaged with state and local legislators. In fall 2020, MomsRising was honored by Attorney General Josh Stein as a recipient of the Dogwood Award for their work to secure paid parental leave for state employees.

Creating the Conditions that Enable Safe, Stable & Nurturing Relationships

As the fifth year of the project approaches, NCIOM and DPH remain committed to these valuable partnerships and supporting strategies to create safe, stable, and nurturing relationships and environments for North Carolina’s children and families in alignment with Essentials for Childhood goals and priorities.

You can sign up to receive updates on North Carolina Essentials for Childhood activities here.

Take Action: Be sure to join us at 2022 Kids on March 29-30! Find out more and register for this two-day policy summit for child advocates.