Protective factors are conditions or attributes in individuals, families, communities, or the larger society that, when present, mitigate or eliminate risk in families and communities that, when present, increase the health and well-being of children and families. Protective factors help parents to find resources, supports, or coping strategies that allow them to parent effectively, even under stress.
Research has shown that protective factors are linked to a lower incidence of child abuse and neglect:
- The protective factors framework
- Nurturing and attachment
- Knowledge of parenting and of child and youth development
- Parental resilience
- Social connections
- Concrete supports for parents
- Social and emotional competence of children
|Preventing Child Maltreatment and Promoting Well-Being: A Network for Action 2013 Resource Guide|
|Author(s):||Child Welfare Information Gateway, Children's Bureau, FRIENDS National Resource Center For Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention, Center for the Study of Social Policy-Strengthening Families
Download (PDF - 5,766KB)
|Year Published:||2013 - 82 pages|
|This Resource Guide was written to support service providers in their work with parents, caregivers, and their children to strengthen families and prevent child abuse and neglect. The guide includes information about protective factors that help reduce the risk of child maltreatment, strategies for changing how communities support families, and evidence-informed practices. It also offers suggestions for enhancing protective factors in families, tools to build awareness and develop community partnerships, information about child abuse and neglect, a directory of national organizations that work to strengthen families, and tip sheets in English and Spanish on specific parenting topics.|
Protective Factors for In-Risk Populations Served by the Administration on Children, Youth, and Families
Administration on Children, Youth and Families (2013)
Explores the literature on protective factors focusing on five population groups of primary concern: infants, children, and adolescents who are victims of child abuse and neglect; runaway and homeless youth; youth in or transitioning out of foster care; children and youth exposed to domestic violence; and pregnant and parenting teens. The study provides key findings that indicate that additional research is necessary to further understand the way in which protective factors promoting well-being in young people at the individual, relationship, and community levels.
Protective Factors Survey
FRIENDS National Resource Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (2008)
Offers a self-administered survey for use with caregivers receiving child maltreatment prevention services, measuring protective factors in five areas: family functioning/resiliency, social support, concrete support, nurturing and attachment, and knowledge of parenting/child development. The website includes the tool and a user manual.
Bringing the Protective Factors Framework to Life in Your Work – A Resource for Action
National Alliance of Children's Trust and Prevention Funds (2012)
Offers an interactive online training on the protective factors for practitioners working with parents. Promising strategies to strengthen families are also included.
Birth to Five Policy Alliance
Promotes policy ideas that support families in their parenting role and ensure positive early childhood development for at-risk children and their families. Website offers information on State-by-State early childhood legislation and policies, links to news and research, and provides an online discussion forum.
The Effects of Childhood Stress on Health Across the Lifespan (PDF - 1030 KB)
National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (2008)
Summarizes research on childhood stress and its implications for adult health and well-being, providing violence prevention practitioners with ideas about how to incorporate information on childhood stress into their work.
Family Strengthening Policy Center
National Human Services Assembly
Offers policy briefs, news, and resources on neighborhood-based, family-centered practices and programs that contribute to family economic and social empowerment.
|Protective Factors Approaches in Child Welfare|
|Series Title:||Issue Briefs|
|Author(s):||Child Welfare Information Gateway
Download (PDF - 412KB)
|Year Published:||2014 - 10 pages|
|Provides an overview of protective factors approaches to the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect. It is designed to help policymakers, administrators, child welfare and related professionals, service providers, advocates, and other interested individuals understand the concepts of risk and protective factors in families and communities and learn ways in which building protective factors can help to lessen risks for child abuse and neglect.|
Protecting the Youngest: The Role of Early Care and Education in Preventing and Responding to Child Maltreatment (PDF - 239 KB)
National Conference of State Legislatures (2007)
Discusses policy options for States to consider to support early care and education programs in protecting young children and preventing abuse and neglect.
Strengthening Families: A Guidebook for Early Childhood Programs (PDF - 2100 KB)
Center for the Study of Social Policy (2007, 2nd ed.)
Describes seven effective strategies that exemplary early childhood programs use to enhance functioning and nurture protective characteristics in families. The guide includes tips for implementing these strategies, examples of effective programs, and self-assessment forms.
Strengthening Families: Around the Nation
Center for the Study of Social Policy
Provides information on various stakeholders from the Federal level down to community projects that support the strengthening families strategy.