For the last few years, First 5 Contra Costa has been using the Protective Factors framework in our approach to working with families.
Developed by the Center for the Study of Social Policy, the Protective Factors framework is designed to prevent child abuse and neglect by focusing on five critical areas that help children and families thrive. The five Protective Factors are:
- Parental Resilience: Resilience helps parents to manage the challenges and stress of everyday life.
- Social Connections: Families have a network of friends, family members, neighbors and community members to provide emotional support and help solve problems.
- Concrete Support in Times of Need: Families can meet basic economic needs like food, shelter, clothing, and health care; services are provided during times of crisis.
- Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development: Parents have accurate information and appropriate expectations about child development to promote children’s healthy development.
- Social and Emotional Competence in Children: Children can interact positively with others, self-regulate behavior and effectively communicate; children with development delays are identified early and receive appropriate assistance.
We had a debate in the office a few months ago about the term “hard-to-reach” when talking about families who could benefit from services but don’t receive them. The outcome of the discussion rested on this: Why place the onus on the family for being “hard-to-reach” when in fact, it’s the services that have become hard-to-reach for far too many families?
I agree! The system of family services has always been difficult to navigate. Ongoing budget cuts and reduced funding for nonprofits have only exacerbated this situation. But there is some good news. Continue reading