Strengthening Families™ is a research-informed approach to increase family strengths, enhance child development and reduce the likelihood of child abuse and neglect.  It is based on engaging families, programs and communities in building five protective factors that have been shown to make positive outcomes more likely for young children and their families, as well as reduce the likelihood of child abuse and neglect:

  • Parental resilience – Being able to manage stress and function well when faced with challenges, adversity and trauma
  • Social connections – Having a sense of connectedness with constructive, supportive people and institutions
  • Knowledge of parenting and child development – Understanding parenting best practices and developmentally appropriate child skills and behaviors
  • Concrete support in times of need – Identifying, accessing and receiving needed adult, child and family services
  • Social and emotional competence of children – Forming secure adult and peer relationships; experiencing, regulating and expressing emotions


Learn more about what each factor means >


How Can Providers Use This Framework?

When families and providers in organizations who work with them are on the same page about the protective factors that they are trying to achieve, they are better able to work together to accomplish these goals. Below are some key resources on this approach for providers who work with, for, and on behalf of children and families:



How It’s Being Used Locally

This framework has been adopted by the United Way of San Antonio and The Bexar County’s Children’s Issue Council’s participating agencies in their home visiting programs, nutrition classes, Play and Learn groups, fatherhood programs, site-based parenting classes, and model classroom activities working with childcare centers and homes. ReadyKidSA partner organizations are encouraged to use this approach in their work, along with other existing evidence- and asset-based practices.


Learn more information about the Strengthening Families Framework and the Center for the Study of Social Policy.


Nurturing Parenting Programs Framework

In addition, the Nurturing Parenting Programs ® framework provides a similar set of protective factors whose programs help build in families. When the 6 protective factors in this framework are established in a family, the likelihood of child abuse and neglect diminishes.

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