Six Protective Factors that Prevent Child Abuse & Neglect
With support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) conducted research and identified five protective factors that prevent child abuse and neglect. A sixth factor, nurturing and attachment, has since been added.
Protective factors are conditions in families and communities that, when present, increase the health and well-being of children and families. They are attributes that serve as buffers, helping parents who might otherwise be at risk of abusing their children to find resources, supports, or coping strategies that allow them to parent effectively, even under stress. The research proved that excellent early care and education programs use common program strategies to build the following protective factors known to reduce child abuse and neglect:
• enhancing parent resilience
• providing an array of social connections
• facilitating parent knowledge & skills as it relates to child development
• providing concrete support for parents
• supporting healthy social & emotional development in young children
• promoting nurturing and attachment by parents and other caregivers
CTF continues to promote the SF Protective Factors in Missouri. CTF is a member of the Strengthening Families National Network, as well as the Early Learning Initiative facilitated by the National Alliance of Children’s Trust and Prevention Funds. CTF has embedded the protective factors into its grant application process and its statewide public awareness campaigns. All CTF prevention partners are encouraged to promote the Protective Factors through their work with Missouri families. In addition, CTF provided funding to the Center for Family Policy and Research at the University of Missouri to revise the Kansas/Missouri Bi-State Core Competencies for Early Care and Education Professionals to include integration of the protective factors. Currently, CTF is attempting to measure the effectiveness of the protective factors within families through standardized evaluation as one component of its overall evaluation of the Community Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) federal grant.
A free training resource to support the Strengthening Families™ Protective Factors Framework in multiple settings is now available online through the National Alliance of Children’s Trust and Prevention Funds.
Strengthening Families poster 2014
Bringing the Protective Factors Framework to Life in Your Work – A Resource for Action (pdf)
Strengthening Families Protective Factors Information Sheet
Protective Factors – Child Welfare Information Gateway
Missouri SF Profile 2011
Child Care Aware SF Document
A Qualitative Examination of Missouri’s SF Initiative (June 2008)
Missouri SF Evaluation Summary