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A diagram of the public health model.

Image description: The Public Health Model is a pyramid shaped diagram displaying three tiers that shows intervention approaches and service provision at differing response levels. The model is a concept with currency in many disciplines, including health, education, welfare and child protection. The pyramid has three colours, one for each tier.

Values:  Level One: Primary or Universal level, blue in colour. Level Two: Secondary, red in colour. Level Three: Tertiary, yellow in colour.

Primary or Universal

This level relates to services and programs for entire populations to provide support and education before problems occur.


This level relates to targeted services for families to alleviate emerging problems and prevent escalation.


This level relates to services and interventions for children and families where there is abuse and neglect.

Presentation: When applied to the child protection and child welfare sector, the public health model provides a theoretical framework that spans the service continuum from primary intervention services that target everyone, to secondary intervention services that target families in need, through to tertiary intervention services that target families where abuse or neglect has already occurred.

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Last updated: 03 May 2021