Every family has positive characteristics and every family has times of struggle. When life becomes chaotic or unexpected stressors occur, it is important to lean on supports and resources. Protective factors are the strengths and resources that families use when life struggles come. Research shows that using these strengths can help families stay strong and prevent child abuse and neglect. The Children’s Bureau, within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has developed a resource guide available at www.childwelfare.gov. This material has been adapted from their guide.

Protective factors tips:

  • Nurturing and attachment: Take time every day to connect with your child with a hug, activity, or listening and talking. Find ways to engage with your child during every day activities (driving, chores, etc.) Play games together.
  • Knowledge of parenting and youth development: Explore parenting questions with teachers, doctors, family, and friends. Read about child development or take a parenting class. Ask questions and share what you learn.
  • Parental resilience: Take time to reenergize yourself. Exercise. Share your feelings with someone you trust. Choose to be around people who support and encourage you.
  • Social connections: Get involved with neighborhood activities. Join a support group. Fine a community who accepts you and your family.
  • Concrete supports for parents: Make a list of people you can call for support. Dial “2-1-1” to out about supports in Vancouver.
  • Social and emotional competence of youth: Provide regular routines for you child. Talk with your child about their feelings. Teach your children to solve problems in appropriate ways.