About Strengthening Families™ and the Protective Factors Framework

Center for the Study of Social Policy
October 13, 2017
This brief provides an overview of the Strengthening Families™ Protective Factors Framework.
Screenshot of brief's header

Protective factors are characteristics or strengths of individuals, families, communities, or societies that act to mitigate risks and promote positive well-being and healthy development. A protective factors framework is an organized set of strengths-based ideas that are used to guide programs, services, supports, and interventions aimed at preventing child maltreatment and promoting healthy outcomes. This brief provides an overview of the Strengthening Families™ Protective Factors Framework from the Center for the Study of Social Policy. The framework distills extensive research in child and family development into a core set of five protective factors that everyone can understand and recognize in their own lives.

Strengthening Families™ is a research-informed approach to increasing family strengths, enhancing child development, and reducing the likelihood of child abuse and neglect. It is based on engaging families, programs, and communities in building five key protective factors. Strengthening Families™ supports families in building these protective factors to enable children to thrive. The five protective factors also offer a framework for changes at the systems, policy, and practice level – locally, statewide, and nationally.

Five Key Protective Factors

  • Parental resilience
  • Social connections
  • Knowledge of parenting and child development
  • Concrete support in times of need
  • Social and emotional competence of children
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