Lessons on parenting matters reduce foster care costs

Family With Teenage Children Eating Meal In Kitchen

Thousands of children die from abuse or neglect in the U.S. each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 683,000 victims of child abuse and neglect reported to child protective services in 2015. Over a lifetime, responding to child abuse and neglect costs local governments and healthcare providers billions. Research shows child abuse and neglect can be prevented through parent education programs that focus on decreasing parenting practices and behaviors associated with child abuse and neglect. When parents lack support or feel isolated, they’re more likely to make poor decisions leading to neglect or abuse.

To address the issue, the Cooperative Extension Program in North Carolina partnered with Hoke County Department of Social Services to offer parenting classes using the Parenting Matters curriculum. Topics presented included Parenting Challenges, You’re a Role Model, Taking Care of Yourself: To Better Take Care of Your Child, Understanding Your Child’s Behavior, Discipline vs Punishment, Avoiding Power Struggles, Strengthening Families and Coping with Parenting Stress.

The result is an estimated yearly savings of $19,644 in foster care costs for the county.