Key factors build protections for families and serve as buffers, helping parents who might otherwise be at risk of abusing their children.

Parental Resilience

Managing stress and functioning well when faced with challenges, adversity and trauma.

Families who can cope with the stresses of life, such as unemployment, poverty and homelessness, have resilience. Resilience often comes from inner strengths such as faith, humor, supportive relationships, problem solving and flexibility. Resilience is what allows parents to continue giving their children the nurturing care they need even when times are tough.

Be strong and flexible.

Young family of three taking a walk on the beach

Social connections

Having positive relationships that provide emotional, informational, instrumental and spiritual support.

Families need people they can call on when they need a sympathetic listener, advice or support. Conversely, research has shown families who are isolated are at higher risk for child abuse and neglect.

Have friends.

Group of families enjoying snacks at home

Concrete support in times of need

Access to concrete support and services that address a family’s needs and help minimize stress caused by challenges.

When families do not have steady income, lack health insurance, or suffer a family crisis such as a natural disaster or the incarceration of a parent, their ability to provide food, shelter and clothing for their children may be at risk. Connecting families to help can prevent the unintended neglect that sometimes occurs.

Know how to find help.

Multi tasking mother holds sleeping baby son and works on laptop computer in the kitchen

Knowledge of parenting and child development

Understanding child development and parenting strategies that support physical, cognitive, language, social and emotional development.

When families are aware of normal development and milestones, they know how to respond to and effectively manage a child’s behavior to prevent frustration. This prevents harsh discipline or emotional withdrawal. Parents with this knowledge are also more likely to notice when their child’s development is not typical.

Know how children grow.

Mother and son playing with toys on floor at home

Social and emotional competence of children

Having family and child interactions that help children develop the ability to communicate clearly, recognize and regulate their emotions and establish and maintain relationships.

Social and emotional competence refers to nurturing and supporting interactions that help children handle their feelings and develop secure attachments to their caregivers. Teaching children how to communicate emotions effectively in turn nurtures their social and emotional development.

Help children handle their feelings.

Happy young family with kids play at home together

View upcoming events for protective factor training

Additional resources

Happy couple on bed with baby daughter
Protective Factors Framework

Learn more about the research-based framework from the Center for the Study of Social Policy.

Protective Factors Framework
Protective factors informational flyers
Children’s Trust Fund Alliance materials

Access materials in English and Spanish to gain understanding of protective factors

Protective factors materials

For more information and training inquiries