Strong Communities improves child welfare

By Sharon Crout

Family enjoying a community dinnerResearch shows that the Strong Communities initiative of the Institute on Family and Neighborhood Life is helping to protect children in participating Upstate communities. 

The program serves southern Greenville and northern Anderson counties. In 2007surveys, parents of young children in those areas reported better care for their children than did parents interviewed in 2004. However, the opposite was true for parents surveyed in other South Carolina communities.

Parents in the service area described more positive behavior toward their children such as hugs and expressions of affection, more careful supervision, and more use of household safety devices such as baby gates at staircases.

“These results show that Strong Communities is unifying communities to support young families,” said Gary Melton, Institute director. “The findings are especially significant since the trend toward isolation and alienation tends to be especially true for young parents.”

The Strong Communities initiative began in 2002 through a grant from The Duke Endowment.

For information: Strong Communities, www.clemson.edu/strongcommunities