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The Strengthening Families Approach

What We Know:

Families thrive when protective factors are robust in their lives and communities.

What We Do:

Mobilize partners, communities and families to build protective factors using the Strengthening Families Approach.

Who We Are:

Strengthening Families is a research-based, cost-effective strategy to in­crease family strengths, enhance child development and reduce child abuse and neglect. It focuses on building five Protective Factors that also promote healthy outcomes.

Those five protective factors are parental resilience, social connections, knowledge of parenting and child development, concrete support in times of need and social and emotional competence of children.

Using the Strengthening Families ap­proach, over thirty states are shifting policy, funding and training to help programs working with children and families build Protective Factors with families. Many states and counties also use the Protective Factors Framework to align services for children and families, strengthen families in the child welfare system and work in partnership with fam­ilies and communities to build Protective Factors.

Nationally, Strengthening Families is coordinated by the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) and supported by national partner organizations including:

  • Child Welfare Information Gateway
  • The Finance Project
  • FRIENDS National Resource Center
  • The National Alliance of Children’s Trust and Prevention Funds
  • Parents As Teachers
  • United Way Worldwide

What Strengthening Families Does:

• Benefits ALL families.

• Builds on family strengths, buffers risk, and promotes better outcomes.

• Builds on and can be integrated into existing programs, strategies, systems and community opportunities.

• Can be implemented through small but significant changes in everyday actions.

• Is grounded in research, practice and implementation knowledge.

What We Want To See:  

Communities and families, institutions, service systems and organizations:

• focus on building protective and promotive factors to reduce risk and create optimal outcomes for children, youth and families

• recognize and support parents as decision makers and leaders

• value the culture and unique assets of each family

• are mutually responsible for better outcomes for children, youth and families




Stay Informed

Using the Online Self-Assessment to Improve Practice

Find out more about an online suite of tools to support programs and jurisdictions that are implementing Strengthening Families. 

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