Five protective factors build strong and resilient families

Protective factors are positive attributes that strengthen all families, not just those at risk. The Five Protective Factors framework identifies factors that play an essential role in helping children and families thrive. With years of research supporting this model, First 5 Ventura County and dozens of organizations throughout Ventura County are beginning to view their work through the lens of the Five Protective Factors, providing unique opportunities to align our efforts and ask the question collectively, “Are families getting what they need to thrive?”

Five Protective Factors Overview

  1. Parental Resilience
    No one can eliminate stress from parenting, but building parental resilience can affect how a parent deals with stress. Parental resilience is the ability to constructively cope with and bounce back from all types of challenges. It is about creatively solving problems, building trusting relationships, maintaining a positiveattitude, and seeking help when it is needed.
  2. Social Connections
    Friends, family members, neighbors, and other members of a community provide emotional support and concrete assistance to parents. Social connections help parents build networks of support that serve multiple purposes: they can reinforce positive norms around childrearing, provide assistance in times of need, and serve as a resource for parenting information or help solving problems. Because social isolation, often stemming from domestic violence or other issues, is a common risk factor for abuse and neglect, parents who are isolated need support in building positive friendships.
  3. Concrete Support in Times of Need
    Parents need access to the types of concrete supports and services that can minimize the stress of difficult situations, such as a family crisis, a condition such as substance abuse, or stress associated with lack of resources. Building this Protective Factor is about helping to ensure the basic needs of a family, such as food, clothing, and shelter, are met, and well as connecting parents and children to services, especially those that have a stigma associated with them, like domestic violence shelter or substance abuse counseling, in times of crisis.
  4. Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development
    Having accurate information about raising young children and appropriate expectations for their behavior help parents better understand and care for children. It is important that information is available when parents need it and that it is relevant to their life and their child. Parents whose own families used harsh discipline techniques or parents of children with developmental or behavior problems or special needs often require extra information and support.
  5. Social and Emotional Competence of Children
    A child’s ability to interact positively with others, to self-regulate, and to effectively communicate his or her emotions has a great impact on the parent-child relationship. Children with challenging behaviors are more likely to be abused, so early identification and work with them helps keep their development on track and keep them safe. Also, children who have experienced or witnessed violence need a safe environmentthat offers opportunities to develop normally.

Learn more about the Five Protective Factors Framework at The Center for the Study of Social Policy.