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Strengthening Families: An Effective Approach to Supporting Families.

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Presentation on theme: "Strengthening Families: An Effective Approach to Supporting Families."— Presentation transcript:

1 Strengthening Families: An Effective Approach to Supporting Families

2 Goals Understand the key elements of the Strengthening Families Five Protective factors – a foundation for programs that support families. Identify ways that your programs are already supporting the development of protective factors in the families you serve. Consider how your programs can help families build protective factors through implementing “seven key strategies.”

3 What is Strengthening Families? Developed by the Center for the Study of Social Policy An approach to working with families based on evidence that when five key protective factors are present: We can prevent child abuse, AND We can promote optimal healthy growth and development of children.

4 Strengthening Families Protective Factors Five protective factors that have common sense appeal while being well grounded in evidence. Shift focus from family deficits to family strengths and resiliency. Promote a wide understanding of what programs can do (or are already doing) to promote healthy child development and strong families. Create a common language and approach in communities and community organizations.

5 Five Protective Factors Parental resilience Social connections Concrete support in times of need Knowledge of parenting and child development Social and emotional competence of children

6 Parental Resilience The ability to cope and bounce back from all kinds of challenges. Building parental resilience can affect how a parent deals with stress. Involves creatively solving problems, building trusting relationships, maintaining a positive attitude, and seeking help when needed. Resilience develops within the context of trusting relationships. “Be strong and flexible”

7 Social Connections Friends, family, neighbors and other members of a community provide emotional support and concrete assistance to parents. Addresses social isolation…a key risk factor related to child abuse and neglect. Positive social connections: Reinforce positive norms about parenting. Provide assistance in times of need. Serve as a resource for parenting information or help solving problems. “Parents need friends”

8 Concrete Support in Times of Need Parents need access to the types of supports and services that can minimize the stress of difficult situations, such as a family crisis, a condition such as substance abuse, or stress associated with lack of resources. Ensuring the basic needs of a family are met (food, clothing, shelter). Connecting families to services particularly those that may feel more difficult to accept (domestic violence, substance abuse counseling, mental health, etc.). “We all need help sometimes”

9 Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development Having accurate information about raising children and appropriate expectations for their behavior helps parents better understand and care for their children. It is important that information is available when parents need it and that it is relevant to their lives. Parents whose own families used harsh discipline techniques or parents of children with developmental or behavioral challenges or special needs often require extra information and support. Parents are more able to learn from people they trust and feel respected by, particularly when they are struggling. Parents learn by education, modeling, and coaching. “Parenting is part natural, part learned”

10 Social and Emotional Competence of Children A child’s ability to interact positively with others, self-regulate, and effectively community his or her emotions has a great impact on the parent-child relationship. Challenging behaviors increase the risk for abuse…working with children early to keep their development on track helps keep them safe. Children who have greater social and emotional competence have more positive interactions and can put their feelings into words rather than behaviors which helps parents be more responsive and less likely to yell and hit. Rich programs of early education and care provide added benefits in this area. “Children connect and relate to their world”

11 Group Activity How can our programs promote these protective factors What do we already do? What could we consider doing?

12 Program Strategies Support the development of protective factors by: Facilitating friendships and mutual support Strengthening parenting Responding to family crises Linking families to services and opportunities Valuing and supporting parents Facilitating children’s social and emotional development Observing and responding to early warning signs of abuse or neglect

13 How do we implement the seven strategies? Strategy Cards Activity

14 Strategies in Action “The Faces of Families”

15 Conversations With Parents What’s hard about being a parent? Are there ways our staff could help you deal with those challenges? We want this to be a welcoming place where families feel comfortable asking for help. What are some of your ideas about how we can do that? We are particularly concerned when parents seemed stressed, isolated, or overwhelmed. Do you have ideas about how we can reach out to parents during those times? We want to make it easy for parents to make connections with each other. How can we do that?

16 Conversations With Staff What are we already doing to build protective factors? What could we do? How might this affect our work? What would be the benefits? What would be the difficulties? How might building protective factors impact parents and how parents relate to their children? How might building protective factors impact the parents we are most concerned about?

17 Where to Start? How helpful would this change or action be to all families? How helpful would it be to families that staff are most concerned about? How easily could it be done without creating new burdens for staff?

18 Comments, Questions and Discussion

19 for your kind attention and active participation! Thank You

20 ECI Learning Community Resources This PowerPoint is part of a series of resources developed by the It is available at no cost. To see the full array of resources, please visit the Alliance web site at projects

21 Collaborating Partners NATIONAL ALLIANCE of CHILDREN’S TRUST & PREVENTION FUNDS Early Childhood Initiative (ECI) and Massachusetts Children’s Trust Fund Thanks for the generous support of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation

22 Martha Reeder, D.A. Director, Early Childhood Initiative projects or contact us at: Contact Information

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