Strengthening Families

Increasing positive outcomes for children and families


What We Work For

We engage families, programs, and communities in building key protective factors.

Children are more likely to thrive when their families have the support they need. By focusing on the five universal family strengths identified in the Strengthening Families Protective Factors Framework, community leaders and service providers can better engage, support, and partner with parents in order to achieve the best outcomes for kids.

How We Do It

The Strengthening Families framework is a research-informed approach to increase family strengths, enhance child development, and reduce the likelihood of child abuse and neglect.

We work to engage families, programs, and communities in building the five protective factors. States apply the Strengthening Families approach in early childhood, child welfare, child abuse prevention, and other child- and family-serving systems.

Strengthening Families

This is a research-informed approach to increase family strengths, enhance child development, and reduce the likelihood of child abuse and neglect. It is based on engaging families, programs, and communities in building five key Protective Factors.

  • Parental resilience
  • Social connections
  • Knowledge of parenting and child development
  • Concrete support in times of need
  • Social and emotional competence of children

Using the Strengthening Families framework, more than 30 states are shifting policy and practice to help programs working with children and families focus on protective factors.

Strengthening Families Training & Professional Development

In partnership with several jurisdictions that are implementing Strengthening Families in their child welfare systems, CSSP has developed a scripted curriculum introducing the Protective Factors Framework and the small but significant changes workers can make in their child welfare practice. Some of the curriculum content will also be relevant for other audiences.

Strengthening Families Resources

The topics below provide additional information, tools, and resources for understanding more about the Strengthening Families and the Protective Factors Framework.

  • Protective Factors Framework
  • The Research Behind Strengthening Families
  • The National Quality Improvement Center on Early Childhood
  • State Strengthening Families Partners
  • National Strengthening Families Partners
  • Translated Strengthening Families Materials

Strengthening Families Practice

At its heart, Strengthening Families is about changing how service providers interact with families to support them in building protective factors.

Strengthening Families is implemented through small but significant changes in daily practice, supported by shifts at the program level that allow workers to make those changes. A number of tools are available to support those shifts in practice. Click on the headings below to explore the resources and materials available to help you do this.

Strengthening Families Systems

Strengthening Families has had its greatest impact by not only changing practice in programs, but by changing the systems that help to govern how programs operate, are held accountable and are resourced.

Across the country the Strengthening Families framework is being used within the key systems that govern programs for children and families. This section of the website provides tools and information to support Strengthening Families work within four key implementation sectors—early care and education, child abuse and neglect prevention, home visiting, and child welfare.

Strengthening Families Collaboration

Strengthening Families is used as a common framework for aligning practice and approaches across the systems that touch the lives of young children and their families.

Strengthening Families implementation is most effective when it takes place through cross-systems collaboration. This section of the website provides tools to support cross-sector leadership teams leading the Strengthening Families work across the country.

  • Cross-Systems Implementation
  • Tools for Strengthening Families Leadership Teams

Our Experts

Charlyn Harper Browne

Charlyn Harper Browne

Senior Associate
SEE FULL PROFILE  
Anna Lovejoy

Anna Lovejoy

Senior Associate and Program Director
SEE FULL PROFILE  
Cailin OConnor

Cailin O’Connor

Senior Associate
SEE FULL PROFILE