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Strengthening Families

What is Strengthening Families Alaska?

Strengthening Families is a proven, cost-effective approach to building Protective Factors around children by supporting family strengths and resiliency. In 2005, Alaska was one of seven states to be selected by the Center for the Study of Social Policy to pilot this approach. The Alaska Strengthening Families Leadership Team is now working to expand the use of this model across the state.

The Strengthening Families approach:

  • Benefits ALL families
  • Builds on family strengths, buffers risk, and promotes better outcomes
  • Can be implemented through small but significant changes in everyday actions
  • Builds on and can become a part of existing programs, strategies, systems and community opportunities
  • Is grounded in research, practice and implementation knowledge

What is special about this approach?

Five Protective Factors are the foundation of the Strengthening Families Approach: parental resilience, social connections, concrete support in times of need, knowledge of parenting and child development, and social and emotional competence of children. Research studies support the common-sense notion that when these Protective Factors are well established in a family, the likelihood of child abuse and neglect diminishes. Research shows that these Protective Factors are also “promotive” factors that build family strengths and a family environment that promotes optimal child and youth development.

Protective Factors

The Center for the Study of Social Policy spent two years researching and identifying five protective factors that prevent child abuse and neglect. These are:

For adults:

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

For children:

  • Healthy social and emotional development