and neglect are continually pressed to translate their findings into clinical applications as well as recommendations for policy and practice. With some exceptions, however, the infrastructure to support the dissemination and translation of basic research findings into policy and practice is limited. Organizational changes need to improve the process by which child maltreatment research findings are converted into action.
Progress in understanding child maltreatment has been slowed by many factors, including ethical and legal challenges, a lack of consensus in research definitions, and a lack of trained investigators. But perhaps the most important factor has been the perception that child maltreatment is a fringe issue, Widom concluded. It is not. “Child maltreatment remains a public health and a social welfare problem. It compromises the health of our children. It threatens their long-term physical and mental health as adults. It impacts their parenting practices. And it negatively affects their economic productivity as wage earners.” The high burden and long-lasting consequences of child maltreatment warrant increased investment in preventive and therapeutic strategies from early childhood, Widom added. “We need to bring child maltreatment research out of the fringe and into the mainstream.”