What are the Protective Factors?

Center for the Study of Social Policy,
Strengthening Families Through Early Care and Education
Paper/Research Report
Year Published: Not Dated
Center for the Study of Social Policy
Center for the Study of Social Policy

The five Protective Factors are the foundation of the Strengthening Families approach. Evidence indicates that when these Protective Factors are present and robust in a family, the likelihood of abuse and neglect diminish. Research also shows that these factors create healthy environments for the optimal development of children. In this brief, the authors describe the five Protective Factors: parent resilience, social connections, concrete support in times of need, knowledge of parenting and child development, and social and emotional competence of children. They also suggest seven strategies that programs can use to help build Protective Factors in families: (1) facilitate friendships and mutual support, (2) strengthen parenting, (3) respond to family crises, (4) link families to services and opportunities, (5) value and support parents, (6) facilitate children's social and emotional development, and (7) observe and respond to early warning signs of abuse and neglect.

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