Strengthening Families Metro Detroit
Strengthening Families Protective Factors

The Five Protective Factors are the foundation of the
Strengthening Families Approach. Research indicates
that when these factors are present and robust in a
family, the likelihood of child abuse and neglect diminishes

1. “Parental Resilience:
No one can eliminate stress from parenting, but a parent’s
capacity for resilience can affect how a parent deals with
stress. Resilience is the ability to manage and bounce back
from all types of challenges that emerge in every family’s life. It means finding ways
to solve problems, building and sustaining trusting relationships including
relationships with your own child, and knowing how to seek help when necessary.

2. Social Connections:
Friends, family members, neighbors and community members provide emotional
support, help solve problems, offer parenting advice and give concrete assistance to
parents. Networks of support are essential to parents, and offer opportunities for
people to “give back,” an important part of self-esteem as well as a benefit for the
community. Isolated families may need extra help in reaching out to build positive

3. Concrete Support in Times of Need:
Meeting basic economic needs like food, shelter, clothing, and health care is
essential for families to thrive. Likewise, when families encounter a crisis such as
domestic violence, mental illness or substance abuse, adequate services and
supports need to be in place to provide stability, treatment and help to family
members to get through the crisis.

4. Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development:
Accurate information about child development and appropriate expectations for
children’s behavior at every age help parents see their children and youth in a
positive light and promote their healthy development. Information can come from
many sources, including family members as well as parent education classes and
surfing the Internet. Studies show information is most effective when it comes at the
precise time parents need it to understand their own children. Parents who
experienced harsh discipline or other negative childhood experiences may need
extra help to change the parenting patterns they learned as children.

5. Social and Emotional Competence of Children:
A child or youth’s ability to interact positively with others, self-regulate their behavior
and effectively communicate their feelings has a positive impact on their
relationships with their family, other adults, and peers. Challenging behaviors, or
delayed development create extra stress for families, so early identification and
assistance for both parents and children can head off negative results and keep
development on track” (CSSP, 2010).

Reference: Center for the Study of Social Policy Strengthening Families Protective Factors Framework
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