By JENNIFER RANGEL
Program Manager of Special Projects, Center for Human Services
Protective Factors are the foundation of the Strengthening Families Approach, a national initiative and framework to build family strengths by promoting healthy development and well-being.
The five protective factors are parental resilience, social connections, knowledge of parenting and child development, concrete support in times of need and social and emotional competence of children. Research shows that when these Protective Factors are present in a family, the likelihood of child abuse and neglect diminishes.
All of these protective factors were present in my family growing up; we just didn’t call them by name. I grew up in a poor family, but I did not know it because we always had food and a place to live; my concrete needs were being met. Our social connections were strong because of our church community, extended family and neighbors. My family was involved in activities even if all we could contribute was our time. In my work here at CHS, I am passionate about coordinating projects and developing programs that strengthen families in Stanislaus County.
I believe the protective factors are key for all parents, regardless of their skill level, age, race or income level. There are families who have all of their basic needs met and live in safe neighborhoods, but lack protective factors. It does not matter where you live, the protective factors strengthen all families in all communities.
Ultimately, stronger families make healthier and safer communities.