This rapid evidence review identified evidence-informed programs that help to reduce harm and maltreatment and improve outcomes for vulnerable children aged 0-5 years.

Of the 34 programs that were rated according to evidence of their effectiveness, 25 programs were found to contribute to reducing maltreatment and improving safety for vulnerable young children.

The majority of programs (22) identified in the review are designed to improve parenting competency and family functioning. Eighteen programs aim to prevent neglect and abuse, and reduce the incidence of contact with child protection services. A number of programs (14) target harsh and/or dysfunctional discipline and punishment. A small number of programs specifically address child health, child safety and domestic violence.

The review identified common core components of these effective programs, including: engagement, building supportive relationships and social networks, building parental capacity and case management.

The review highlights a need for more high-quality research examining the effectiveness of Australian programs and the implementation of international programs in diverse Australian contexts, particularly with Aboriginal and culturally and linguistically diverse families.

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