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April 2008Vol. 9, No. 3The Importance of Family Strengthening

Promoting family strengths is a key component of successful child welfare programs, including programs for preventing child abuse and neglect. A new policy brief by the Family Strengthening Policy Center takes a broad look at family strengthening initiatives and provides key recommendations for family-strengthening professionals, policymakers, and employers. The policy brief is based on a synthesis of 8 years of research and experience in family strengthening.

Citing recent research from the field, the brief identifies three fundamental elements of successful families and provides specific strategies to put them into practice. These elements include loving and nurturing relationships, financial stability, and positive connections to people and organizations. They are part of an ecological model that includes thriving and nurturing communities, quality support systems, and strong and supportive families.

The brief also includes a section on systemic change, suggesting that a change in cultural values is necessary so that society recognizes the importance of strong families for the well-being of children. Factors underlying significant changes include leadership from the family-strengthening field, public will, transformation of public policy, and changes in private policy and practice.

To read Family Strengthening Writ Large: On Becoming a Nation That Promotes Strong Families and Successful Youth, visit: (PDF - 2,148 KB)