Parents and caregivers with a social network of emotionally supportive friends, family, and neighbors often find that it is easier to care for their children and themselves compared with those who do not have such a network. All caregivers need people they can call on once in a while when they need a sympathetic listener, advice, or concrete support. Research has shown that parents who are isolated and have few social connections are at higher risk for maltreating their children. The following resources provide an array of information that help families enhance their social connections.
Be Strong Families Café Trainings
Be Strong Families
Offers professionals an opportunity to receive trainings on the Be Strong Families Birth Parent Café Model, which is a tool focused on promoting healthy and positive peer-to-peer interactions and conversations.
Annie E. Casey Foundation
Focuses on the premise that families do better when they live in communities that help them to succeed. This website provides information on theory, relevant websites, results, and reading materials.
Parent Cafés: Creating Conversation, Community and Positive Outcomes
Bainum Family Foundation
Describes the use of Parent Cafés, in which parents hold small-group discussions about how they can strengthen their families.
The Power of Positive Social Connections
Safe Families for Children (2017)
Explains the importance of positive social connections for parents and describes social connections as a protective factor for the others to be built upon.
The Role of Social Networks Among Low-Income Fathers: Findings From the PACT Evaluation (PDF - 451 KB)
Valdovinos D'Angelo, Knas, Holcomb, & Edin (2016)
Mathematica Policy Research
Describes findings from the second round of the qualitative study of the Parents and Children Together evaluation, which measures the impacts and implementation of four Responsible Fatherhood programs.
Social Connections (PDF - 152 KB)
Center for the Study of Social Policy (2018)
Outlines distinct forms of social support, including emotional, informational, instrumental, and spiritual support, and the role they play in stabilizing families.
Children's Trust Fund Alliance (2019)
Describes the importance of social connections as a protective factor and provides examples of everyday actions that organizations can take to help parents connect with each other and learn to develop social networks.
Strengthening Families and the 5 Protective Factors Series: Social Connections
National Fatherhood Initiative
Explores how the National Fatherhood Initiative can help child welfare professionals using the Protective Factors Framework enhance social connections for parents in their community through increased engagement of fathers.
Strengthening Families: Social Connections
Provides two practical activities to highlight and develop social support in the lives of children, family, and youth during social distancing.