A Theory of Change for Primary Prevention in the U.S.

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Imagine a world where all children have what they need to thrive and prosper, and all parents have the resources and supports they need to care for their children adequately. Prevent Child Abuse America believes this envisioned world is possible, and in response, embarked on a comprehensive, adaptive strategy process in 2022 to set a vision for the creation of a primary prevention ecosystem in the United States that builds the well-being of our nation’s children and families.

The PCA America Theory of Change represents a comprehensive, evidenced-based, and bold prevention framework that guides the work of PCA America and the broader prevention field and policymakers in ensuring equitable and positive childhoods for all children. This document outlines the Theory of Change, including PCA America’s North Star guiding the work, shared values, and strategies for building an aligned and comprehensive primary prevention ecosystem.

This Theory of Change lays out a framework to promote a unified movement that ensures the health and well-being of all children and families so they can thrive. Individuals, organizations, policymakers, researchers, and families across the primary prevention ecosystem can use the PCA America Theory of Change to guide their efforts in many ways including:

  • Identify new ways in which programs, initiatives, and advocacy efforts can help to build an aligned and comprehensive primary prevention ecosystem that advances positive childhoods for all children
  • Align current programs, initiatives, advocacy efforts, policies, practices, decision-making processes, and budgets with the tenets of an aligned and comprehensive primary prevention ecosystem
  • Scale proven prevention strategies across sectors and communities
  • Shift the narrative around what is needed to advance equity in primary prevention
  • Build needed evidence to develop, implement, and evolve primary prevention efforts

The Theory of Change framework is available to support practitioners across the violence prevention ecosystem. Available to download on Prevent Child Abuse America’s website.

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