Help Me Grow | United Way of Utah County

Strong Happy Families: The Strengthening Families Approach

In 2001, The Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) began studying how education programs and early child care across the country could prevent child abuse and neglect and build healthy, happy families. They came up with an approach called Strengthening Families.

Strengthening Families is a research-informed approach to increase family strengths, enhance child development, and reduce the likelihood of child abuse and neglect. The foundation of this approach is engaging families and communities in building five key protective factors.

Research studies have shown that when these protective factors are in place it builds an environment that promotes optimal child development, strengthens families, and reduces the likelihood of child abuse and neglect.

The 5 Protective Factors are:

  1. Parental Resilience: The ability to manage the stress that will most definitely come while parenting and bounce back from the everyday struggles of raising children. Look for ways to manage your stress and get help when you need it!
  2. Social Connections: Help parents receive emotional support, solve problems, and find advice and concrete aid. Family, friends, neighbors, and Help Me Grow Utah are great ways to help parents stay connected and receive the help they need!
  3. Concrete Support in Time of Need: For families to succeed, they need tangible help in times of need. This can be anything from food and shelter to health care and treatment.
  4. Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development: Understanding a child’s development will help with viewing them in a positive light and being able to celebrate important milestones with them. Education on child development can come from so many sources, such as health care providers, family members, or community supports like Help Me Grow Utah!
  5. Social and Emotional Competence of Children: How children interact with those around them plays a huge role in their relationships with their parents and peers. If you notice your child has difficulties communicating or interacting positively with friends or family, it is important to connect with any available resources to improve those behaviors early on.

Implementing the Protective Factors into your family is a great way to build on relationships that are already strong and improve on those that are struggling. To learn more about them and find simple actions you can take, check out these Protective Factors infographics. Building strong communities starts with families, as a parent you are doing incredible work!

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