The philosophy behind the concept of family support is based upon the best practice models as demonstrated on a national basis. Principles and Quality Standards are the foundation of all programming and initiatives of the Children's Board Family Resource Centers:

The Principles of Family Support Practice

1. Staff and families work together in relationships based on equality and respect.

2. Staff enhance families’ capacity to support the growth and development of all family members – adults, youth and children.

3. Families are resources to their own members, to other families, to programs, and to communities.

4. Programs affirm and strengthen families’ cultural, racial, and linguistic identities and enhance their ability to function in a multicultural society.

5. Programs are embedded in their communities and contribute to the community-building process.

6. Programs advocate with families for services and systems that are fair, responsive, and accountable to the families served.

7. Practitioners work with families to mobilize formal and informal resources to support family development.

8. Programs are flexible and continually responsive to emerging family and community issues.

9. Principles of family support are modeled in all program activities, including planning, governance, and administration.


Quality Standards

  • Governance that includes parents in making decisions about Center operations.
  • A welcoming drop-in Center that supports activities of interest to families.
  • Effective referrals and advocacy on behalf of families to community programs and services.
  • Parent, parent-child, and child-focused, developmental activities and efforts for both Center-based and individual family support activities.
  • Outreach and community education efforts with a strong focus on families with children prenatal to age eight.
  • Attention to quality management, including training and staff development that ensures that workers share the Center philosophy and have the practical and cultural competency skills necessary to support the Center and individual family goals.

The 5 Protective
Factors Framework

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.

Parental Resilience
No one can eliminate stress from parenting, but a parent’s capacity for resilience can affect how a parent deals with stress. Resilience is the ability to manage and bounce back from all types of challenges that emerge in every family’s life. It means finding ways to solve problems, building and sustaining trusting relationships including relationships with your own child, and knowing how to seek help when necessary.

Social Connections
Friends, family members, neighbors and community members provide emotional support, help solve problems, offer parenting advice and give concrete assistance to parents. Networks of support are essential to parents and also offer opportunities for people to “give back,” an important part of self- esteem as well as a benefit for the community. Isolated families may need extra help in reaching out to build positive relationships.

Concrete Support in Times of Need
Meeting basic economic needs like food, shelter, clothing and health care is essential for families to thrive. Likewise, when families encounter a crisis such as domestic violence, mental illness or substance abuse, adequate services and supports need to be in place to provide stability, treatment and help for family members to get through the crisis.

Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development
Accurate information about child development and appropriate expectations for children’s behavior at every age help parents see their children and youth in a positive light and promote their healthy development. Information can come from many sources, including family members as well as parent education classes and surfing the internet. Studies show information is most effective when it comes at the precise time parents need it to understand their own children. Parents who experienced harsh discipline or other negative childhood experiences may need extra help to change the parenting patterns they learned as children.

Social and Emotional Competence of Children
A child or youth’s ability to interact positively with others, self-regulate their behavior and effec­tively communicate their feelings has a positive impact on their relationships with their family, other adults, and peers. Challenging behaviors or delayed development create extra stress for families, so early identification and assistance for both parents and children can head off nega­tive results and keep development on track.

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