Preventing Child Abuse with Safe, Stable, Nurturing Relationships

Finding the root of the problem is the first step to taking action against it. For cases of child maltreatment and abuse, many problems stem from a home life that does not foster healthy relationships. A framework developed by the CDC, safe, stable, nurturing relationships (also known as SSNRs) have a major impact in preventing child maltreatment. Below are definitions of what each of those mean, information that is also included in our Research and Practices of Child Maltreatment Prevention textbook.


Parents should always strive to make sure their child is safe from physical harm. This means removing any hazards from the home and keeping children out of harm’s way. A lesser known safety factor is providing emotional safety to children. Teaching children how to regulate their emotional response to situations and monitoring their emotions helps them to be fully functional. Emotional maltreatment can do just as much damage as physical maltreatment.


As a child grows, stability gives them foundation to move up and take steps forward. Stability is important in terms of routines, physical home environment, and caregivers. A foundation of stability also helps children respond well to change in their life out of the parent’s control.


The most broad component in SSNRs is nurturance, covering physical, developmental, and emotional needs. Starting early in nurturing children in every way possible strengthens their self-worth in a lot of ways. This includes capacity to learn, social skills, and development of healthy relationships.

An important part of helping children who have experience maltreatment or abuse is understanding what needs to change. With a new focus on prevention, our newest textbooks offer anyone in the multidisciplinary information like this to stop abuse at the source.

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