HOPE centers the experiences of the child. This approach adds to the family focus of the Strengthening Families Protective Factors approach, and the policy and norms perspective of the CDC’s Essentials for Childhood program. These two approaches, both grounded in the prevention of child maltreatment, have been widely adopted – Strengthening Families in the child welfare system, and Essentials in state government.
The four building blocks of HOPE, which were drawn from a review of studies of effective interventions, weave together other important concepts:
- HOPE includes new work on early relational health, and provides a context, built on epidemiology and brain science, to underscore the key role of safe, stable, nurturing relationships in child development.
- HOPE pulls together many aspects of a child’s environment. Safe, stable, and equitable environments to live, learn and play include the social determinants of health. Children need food, shelter, and other concrete supports. They also need emotional safety found in positive school environments, spiritual communities, and access to nature, and homes where they feel safe and valued.
- HOPE calls out the importance of active engagement in the world. This is how we all develop the sense that we matter in the world, and find meaning in our lives and efforts. This deep understanding evolved from a variety of programs, from the parent cafés disseminated by Be Strong Families, to the positive youth development model for adolescents, to the world of first grade teachers who know the value of assigning classroom tasks to six-year-olds.
- HOPE also recognizes that social and emotional growth happen best when children have opportunities for child-directed peer play. This happens in settings ranging from extended families and communities where cousins play together to city neighborhoods where adults watch over kids in the playground.