Violence remains a significant preventable health issue for Alaskans today. In the State Health Assessment, survey respondents noted that violence in Alaska was a topic that was very or extremely concerning to them. Violence prevention was represented in the HA2020 plan with the LHI’s 11, 12, and 13, that addressed child maltreatment, adolescent dating violence, and rape. There was no significant progress with all Alaskans to meet the targets for the child maltreatment and rape indicators in the HA2020 plan, but the adolescent dating violence target was successfully met.
The HA2030 teams decided to keep a HA2020 objective on child maltreatment since there was no significant progress made by 2020. The measure for HA2030 was changed to “percent of repeated substantiated child maltreatment within the last 12 months” to better align with the measurement data being tracked for federal reporting. The repeated incidence also gives a better picture of the potential impact of interventions and prevention efforts on this objective. HA2030 also retained the HA2020 indicator focused on rape for the HA2030 plan. There is acknowledgment of several data limitations, including issues with underreporting, case backlogs, and no national Alaska Native/American Indian dataset, but the objective itself is considered important and efforts to make progress on it are priority. This measure is based on the only known source for rape data that has a national comparison.
The HA2030 teams decided to keep the HA2020 indicator focused on adolescent dating violence for HA2030. This is supported with a reliable data source in the YRBS to measure it semi-annually. The progress on this objective helps to reflect the work that is being done across the state on adolescent dating violence and can be used to help the continued funding of this priority work.
Addressing some of the support related issues that cause conditions that may result in contact with the Office of Children’s Services is one way to prevent further escalation of child neglect and maltreatment and perhaps additional contact with OCS. Preventive services as a cost savings action.
Early childhood home visitation programs (such as Nurse Family Partnerships, Parents as Teachers, Early Head Start, Head Start, and Infant Learning Programs) are recommended to prevent child maltreatment on the basis of strong evidence that these programs are effective in reducing violence against visited children. Programs delivered by professional visitors (i.e., nurses or mental health workers) seem more effective than programs delivered by paraprofessionals, although programs delivered by paraprofessionals for ≥2 years also appear to be effective in reducing child maltreatment. Home visitation programs in this review were offered to teenage parents; single mothers; families of low socioeconomic status (SES); families with very low birth weight infants; parents previously investigated for child maltreatment; and parents with alcohol, drug, or mental health problems. (From The Community Guide)
According to Robert Wood Johnson County Health Ranking and Roadmaps What works for health, publicly-funded pre-kindergarten (pre-K) programs are large-scale efforts to provide school-based early learning opportunities to preschool aged children. Programs are voluntary and can be for 3- and 4-year-olds, though programs often only or disproportionately serve 4-year-olds. Publicly-funded pre-K programs can be universally available regardless of family income or focus on specific populations, usually children from low income backgrounds. Programs also vary based on state early learning standards and guidelines for choosing curricula. Public pre-K programs are typically funded by the state but can be funded by municipalities and school districts (Brookings-Phillips 2017). The expected beneficial outcomes of universal pre-K programs is increased academic achievement, increased school readiness, improved social emotional skills, reduced child care costs, and longer terms increased earnings.
According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation County Health Rankings and Roadmaps What Works for Health, Health insurance enrollment outreach and support programs assist individuals whose employers do not offer affordable coverage, who are self-employed, or unemployed with health insurance needs. Such programs can be offered by a variety of organizations, including government agencies, schools, community-based or non-profit organizations, health care organizations, and religious congregations. Outreach activities vary greatly, and can include community health worker (CHW) efforts, other person-to-person outreach, mass media and social media campaigns, school-based efforts, case management, or efforts in health care settings. Outreach can occur at local events, via hotlines, or at fixed locations (e.g., community centers, non-profit offices, etc.) and are often supported through grants from federal agencies or private foundations. The expected outcomes of this strategy is increased health insurance coverage for children.
There is some evidence that parent education and engagement classes such as Parents as Teachers (PAT) improves cognitive skills and school readiness among children from families with low incomes (YG-PAT, Welsh 2014, PPN). These coures can also have positive effects on child development (Avellar 2013). Additional evidence is needed to confirm effects.
The Alaska Tribal Child Welfare Compact is a one of a kind landmark government-to-government agreement between the State of Alaska and Alaska Tribes and Tribal organizations that recognizes the Tribes’ inherent authority to oversee placement of their children and provide child welfare services. This umbrella agreement broadly defines the services and support that are to be carried out by each Tribe (Co-Signer) within their service area and memorializes how information and resources are shared between the State and each Co-Signer. This unique Compact has been created in the hopes of reducing the disproportionate number of Alaska Native children in State custody and improving the lives of Alaska Native families state-wide.
The strategies presented in this Report Form are from the Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) STOP SV: A Technical Package to Prevent Sexual Violence, which highlights strategies based on the best available evidence to help communities and states prevent and reduce sexual violence. Many of the strategies focus on reducing the likelihood that a person will engage in sexual violence. These strategies include the following: 1) Promote Social Norms that Protect Against Violence, 2) Teach Skills to Prevent Sexual Violence, 3) Provide Opportunities to Empower and Support Girls and Women, 4) Create Protective Environments, and 5) Support Victims/Survivors to Lessen Harm.Community initiatives in Alaska, supported by state and federal funds, are encouraged to be comprehensive, coalition driven, and culturally relevant. Ensuring that Alaskan communities are engaged in supporting the social and structural environments that promote healthy relationships is a key strategy across many statewide plans.Preventing sexual violence requires addressing factors at all levels of the social ecology—the individual, relational, community, and societal levels. The strategies presented below are focused on primary prevention efforts.
Current research through the CDC, identifies that sexual violence shares common risk and protective factors with other forms of violence including child maltreatment, bullying, teen dating violence and suicide attempts (CDC-connecting the dots and SV-Prevention-Technical Package). State level policy and implementation efforts that are integrated and align with shared factors have the potential for the broadest reach and positive impact.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed technical packages to help states and communities take advantage of the best available evidence to prevent violence.
Universal school-based violence prevention programming, that is evidence based, is recognized by the CDC as an effective approach to reducing violence and victimization among students. In recognition of the positive impact universal, grade specific, curriculum has in reducing violence, the Alaska Legislature passed legislation in 2015, titled the Alaska Safe Children’s Act that has (as part of the act) a requirement for school districts, across the state, to implement curriculum in grades 7-12 that specifically addresses teen dating violence and healthy relationships.
There is now significant research highlighting the relationships between the development of social-emotional competencies during early childhood and outcomes in learning and academic success, mental health, and general wellbeing (Rhoades, 2011; Shonkoff, 2000; Zins, 2004). In a meta-analytic review of SEL programs across diverse student outcomes, Durlak and colleagues (2011) found that students exposed to an SEL intervention demonstrated enhanced SEL skills/attitudes (e.g. motivation), positive social behaviors, and less emotional distress compared to a control group. Further, academic performance was significantly improved, with an 11% point difference between groups on standardized scores.
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