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Strengthening Families: A protective factors framework

Family Paths endorses the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP)’s work on identifying protective and promotive factors that strengthen families. The CSSP “works to create new ideas and promote public policies that produce equal opportunities and better futures for all children and families, especially those most often left behind.” (www.CSSP.org)

As defined by CSSP, Protective Factors are “conditions or attributes of individuals, families, communities or the larger society that mitigate or eliminate risk.” Promotive Factors are “conditions or attributes of individuals, families, communities or the larger society that actively enhance well-being.”
Family Paths has at the core of our mission the goal to strengthen families. Read below some real life examples of how our programs use the Protective Factors as a guide to create a safe home for every child.

Do you know that managing stress during challenging times prevents child abuse?

Did you know Family Paths’ Parenting Stress Helpline can provide regular callbacks to parents experiencing ongoing stress? Recently, a mom called about trauma experienced by her children and noticing their behaviors getting worse. She felt worried, guilty and held a lot of self-blame. She also felt depressed and hopeless. After several calls with a Parent Support Counselor who helped her practice methods of self-care and focus on her strengths as a parent, she said, “I am happy when I’m talking to you and it gets me through my day.”

Did you know that understanding how to support children’s learning at different ages prevents child abuse?

In Family Paths’ Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors Parent Education classes parents learn to encourage reading in children at an early age, even if you don’t have books. You can create a story and “tell” a story from pictures, without the need for written words. These parents are making their own picture books to share with their young children and having fun in the process!

Did you know that connecting with constructive, supportive people and institutions prevents child abuse?

Family Paths’ Finding Peace Within group, which teaches valuable skills to mothers who have experienced trauma, also creates a supportive place for members to connect with each other.  On a recent satisfaction survey, one mom wrote: “[we] feed off each other and make the class have life and positive energy.  Together we are awakening and making change….This class is a gift to the community.”


Did you know that receiving concrete support in a time of need prevents child abuse?

Family Paths’ CalWORKs case manager is helping families during the escalating housing crisis in the Bay Area. Recently, Brenda said, “you have been a bridge to a critical necessity to help me [and my children] find safe housing when I needed it the most.   I would have been lost otherwise and wandering trying to find it on my own….you are the bridge that made the difference.”


Did you know that creating an environment where children feel safe to express their emotions helps prevent child abuse?

Our early childhood mental health therapists work with young children and their parents together to help children form secure relationships and keep their development is on track. After 6 months of joint therapy, “Brianna’s” mother said, “She is a different kid,” more engaged, expressive and playful and doing much better in pre-school.


By utilizing the Strengthening Families ™ and Youth Thrive ™ frameworks developed by CSSP, we are able to incorporate these key protective/promotive factors into our various programs to succeed in our goal. To see more about the Protective/Promotive Factors and what they mean in real terms, scroll down.

(Downloadable PDF: English / Español)

Protective Factors - Page 01 Protective Factors - Page 02 Youth Thrive

Downloadable pdf HERE