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April 2016Vol. 17, No. 2Strengthening Families Scripted Curriculum

Strengthening Families is an approach, validated by research, that seeks to increase family strengths, support child development, and reduce the likelihood of child maltreatment. It focuses on engaging families, programs, and communities in building five protective factors:

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

Implementation of the Strengthening Families approach occurs through small but meaningful changes in daily child welfare practice, encouraged by shifts at the program level. In order to help service providers effectively interact with and support families in building protective factors, the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP), in conjunction with multiple jurisdictions already employing Strengthening Families in their child welfare systems, developed a scripted curriculum that presents the Protective Factors Framework and examples of the small yet important changes that child welfare staff can institute in their work.

The curriculum was designed as a tool for the training and professional development of the child welfare workforce on the Strengthening Families approach. It contains a variety of instructional methods, materials, and tips for trainers; handouts for participants; and training activities, all of which are organized into the following eight modules: 

  • Introduction to Strengthening Families: A Protective Factors Framework
  • Understanding the Strengthening Families Protective Factors
  • Youth Thrive: A Protective Factors Approach for Older Youth
  • Trauma and Brain Development: A Protective Factors Approach
  • Making Small but Significant Changes in Child Welfare Practice
  • Taking a Community Approach to Strengthening Families
  • The Research Behind Strengthening Families
  • Tools to Support Strengthening Families Implementation

Each structured module defines its purpose and learning objective(s) and contains the necessary materials relevant to that topic. Estimated instruction time for each module is listed; the shortest module is expected to take 30 minutes, the longest may take up to 3 hours. While the curriculum can be used as a standalone training tool, jurisdictions may benefit more by integrating and adapting it into their existing training efforts. For more information on Strengthening Families and the Protective Factors Framework scripted curriculum, visit the CSSP website at

Access the Scripted Curriculum Overview at (72 KB).