- February 2011
- Vol. 12, No. 1
Helping Child Care and Early Childhood Centers Strengthen Families
The Strengthening Families approach advocates the promotion of five protective factors (parental resilience, social connections, parenting knowledge, concrete support, and children's social and emotional development) to prevent child maltreatment. It's important to work with at-risk families to build these protective factors before families come to the attention of the child welfare system, whenever possible. One way to reach many young families is through their child care or early childhood education providers.
The Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) has developed a comprehensive Strengthening Families initiative to help child care providers promote protective factors in families with young children. The initiative offers seven strategies that child care centers and providers can use to build protective factors in families:
- Facilitate friendships and mutual support
- Value and support parents
- Strengthen parenting
- Respond to family crises
- Link families to services and opportunities
- Facilitate children's social and emotional development
- Observe and respond to early warning signs of abuse and neglect
CSSP also has developed a number of Strengthening Families resources designed for early care and education programs and family child care. These include:
- Online resources that include a guidebook and self-assessment to help programs make small but significant changes (developed with FRIENDS and the University of Kansas) (www.strengtheningfamilies.net/index.php/online_resources/guide_assess/category/self_assessment)
- Online resources specifically for family child care programs (www.strengtheningfamilies.net/index.php/online_resources/building/category/strengthening_families_in_family_child_care)
Visit the homepage of CSSP's Strengthening Families to learn more:
The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) sponsors several initiatives to help families of young children, including the following:
- Assets for Independence (AFI) programs help low-income families become economically self-sufficient. Read about AFI Profiles of Success on the ACF Head Start Early Childhood Learning & Knowledge Center at http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/Family%20and%20Community%20Partnerships/Self-Sufficiency/Asset%20Building_Financial%20Literacy/AssetsforIndepe.htm or visit the AFI homepage at www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ocs/afi.
- The National Infant & Toddler Child Care Initiative promotes high quality infant and toddler child care. The website offers a number of resources, including information on what States are doing to promote good child care. Visit the website at http://nitcci.nccic.acf.hhs.gov/index.htm.