OSR Journal of Student Research

Article Title

Developing a Community Plan to Prevent Child Abuse & Neglect in Rural Southern California


The goal of this project is to identify and mobilize resources to reduce the number of children entering the child welfare system in a rural Southern California community. The project brings together a variety of community leaders and human services professionals to examine the factors that propel children into the system in this isolated community and to pinpoint existing resources that may be better leveraged to ensure the well-being of the community’s children. The project’s focuses on identifying and maximizing resources already available in this community, rather than on the scarcity of resources or services. Parents and social workers often must travel to long distance to access services out of the town. Yet, there are some services available in the rural areas and additional social capital can be used as a good alternative or substitute for the absent services. The child welfare social workers can use the social capital to support families and children especially in the early stages of a child abuse investigation. Although rural areas have many challenges, there are still favorable conditions and opportunities to support new practices and the goal of this research project is to leverage the creativity, generosity, and close relationships of rural residents to support families at risk of neglect and abuse. This project uses a community based participatory approach designed to help a community organization identify the community’s needs and available resources, and to establish a plan of action for reducing the number of children who enter the child welfare system.

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