Prevention Mindset Institute

What is the Prevention Mindset Institute?

The FRIENDS National Center for Community-Based Child-Abuse Prevention (FRIENDS) initiated the Prevention Mindset Institute (PMI) to identify strategies showing promise for shifting mindsets toward prevention. FRIENDS' goal is to share knowledge with selected state teams, learn from participants, and disseminate our findings with others in child welfare and prevention. Our vision is that systems shift from intervening with families after bad things have happened, to putting significant energy and resources into prevention and early intervention.

What is Primary Prevention?

Primary prevention looks like communities focused on family strengthening, which may include family resource/success centers, schools teaching social-emotional health, concrete supports provided when families are struggling with housing, utilities, food, or other necessities, among many other strategies. The shift to prevention offers families the opportunity to overcome challenges, is not viewing poverty as neglect, advances kinship care, makes most child removals unnecessary, and promotes the best possible outcomes for our nation's children.

Child protection interventions have disproportionately impacted Black, brown, Indigenous, and other families of color. The data demand immediate reflection and action to stop these inequities and to build a more just approach to serving all families.

The PMI is a group of national partners, parents, and state teams committed to child welfare systems transformation. The selected states have set ambitious goals to create more prevention-focused and equitable environments that support child and family well-being. They are partnering with communities, identifying critical stakeholders, addressing policy and structural changes, and tracking progress towards successful outcomes.

Please see the tabs below for an overview and the 2020 – 2021 PMI Summary Report for greater detail on PMI activities and expected outcomes identified by the first cohort of states. A second cohort was selected in March 2022 and will be participating in the PMI through early 2024.

FRIENDS has also produced two podcasts on the work, these can be found here.

National Experts partnering in the work include:

The current cohort will meet in-person in Baltimore in August of 2022 with various speakers, partners, staff and mentors to further their work together.  More information about their outcomes and progress will be shared in the fall of 2022.

2020-2021 PMI Summary Report

What does it take to shift mindsets across multiple, interconnected systems? Can mindsets be shifted within decades-old child-welfare systems—systems that wield enormous reach and power? What would motivate change? The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) has promoted the reorientation of child welfare agencies toward a prevention mindset, and the Prevention Mindset Institute (PMI) was formed to assist states in making such a change. In 2020, six states (Alabama, California, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, and Wyoming) embarked on furthering their systems change efforts through the PMI.  To learn more about their progress, setbacks, victories, and goals, see the 2020-2021 PMI Summary Report:

2020-2021 PMI Summary Report

2020-2021 PMI Summary Attachments