This chapter provides background and guidance for service providers and others on exploring the five protective factors with parents. For each protective factor, you will find:
- Brief background on why the protective factor is important for strengthening families and reducing the risk of abuse or neglect.
- Suggested areas to explore and language to use as you partner with parents to identify family strengths and needs.
- Strategies and resources that may serve to strengthen families.
For each protective factor, the focus is on helping parents identify and build on their own strengths and on empowering them to identify the best strategies to help them enhance their parenting capacity. This gives the provider a foundation for working in partnership with the parent and family to explore opportunities for growth and support.
The five protective factors covered in this chapter are:
- Nurturing and attachment- Building a close bond helps parents better understand, respond tom and communicate with their children.
- Knowledge of parenting and of child and youth development- Parents learn what to look for at each age and how to help their children reach their full potential.
- Parental Resilience-Recognizing the signs of stress and enhancing problem-solving skills can help parents build their capacity to cope.
- Social connections- Parents with an extensive network of family, friends, and neighbors have better support in times of need.
- Concrete supports for parents- Caregivers with access to financial, housing, and other concrete resources and services that help them meet their basic needs can better attend to their role as parents.
The words used with parents have a powerful impact on our ability to connect. Providers are encouraged to engage community members in identifying ways to describe the protective factors that speak to that community. For example, a group of parents from the Nisqually Nation in Washington State suggested, “Compassion, freedom, hope, community, and health.”
The resources and suggestions provided in this chapter are just a starting point for developing the parent-provider partnership. Other considerations are equally important. For example, the parent and provider should find a mutually comfortable place to meet, such as the parent’s home, a coffee shop, a picnic bench in a nearby park, or at a religious institution or school. A casual setting may facilitate a more friendly and informal discussion.
For more information on protective factors that reduce the risk of child abuse and neglect, visit the Child Welfare Information Gateway webpage- Enhancing Protective Factors: www.childwelfare.gov/preventing/promoting/protectfactors