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Understanding and Integrating the Protective Factors Framework into Everyday Practice

The Protective Factors Framework is an evidence-informed tool for strengthening families and reducing the likelihood of child abuse and neglect. In this post, CalTrin will provide a quick overview of the five Protective Factors and resources available to child- and family-serving professionals looking to better understand and integrate this framework into their everyday practices.


What are the five Protective Factors?

Parental Resilience: Managing stress and functioning well when faced with challenges, adversity, and trauma.

Social Connections: Positive relationships that provide emotional, informational, instrumental, and spiritual support.

Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development: Understanding child development and parenting strategies that support physical, cognitive, language, social, and emotional development.

Concrete Support in Times of Need: Access to concrete support and services that address a family’s needs and help minimize stress caused by challenges.

Social and Emotional Competence of Children: Family and child interactions that help children develop the ability to communicate clearly, recognize and regulate their emotions, and establish and maintain relationships.

Where did they come from?

The Strengthening Families™ Protective Factors Framework from the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) distills extensive research in child and family development into a core set of five Protective Factors that everyone can understand and recognize in their own lives. The Protective Factors Framework is the basis for a research-informed approach to strengthening families, enhancing child development, and reducing the likelihood of childhood abuse and neglect. Take a deeper dive with the following CSSP resources:

Does CalTrin offer training on the Protective Factors?

Yes! At CalTrin, we regularly offer training on the Protective Factors Framework. Our innovative learning model enables child- and family-serving professionals to choose training and educational experiences that work for their schedule, learning style, and career path—all at no cost to learners. No matter your role, we have something for everyone:

  • Single Event Webinars: These large-format webinars offer the opportunity for you and your entire team to attend together.
  • Small Group Training: These more intimate trainings are designed to be highly interactive.
  • Training Archive: Whenever possible, we record our training events so that you can fit them into your schedule and share them with your team. Explore prior Protective Factors training sessions and access related resources here.

View our training calendar and start planning your Protective Factors learning journey today! We are continually adding new small group and single event webinars to the schedule and invite you to sign up for the CalTrin Connection newsletter to be notified when new training is available. 

CalTrin’s Protective Factor of the Month training series begins in July 2023! This learning series is designed for anyone who works with children and families and focuses on concrete ways you can support the building of Protective Factors in your work. Each month, CalTrin will present one Protective Factor in an engaging lecture-style presentation, and learners have the ability to register for individual sessions of interest. Each session will be presented with optional Spanish interpretation (con interpretación en español)Click here to view the schedule and register for the sessions that meet your learning needs and schedule.

Looking for a Protective Factors training for your agency or network? Contact CalTrin to discuss your team’s training needs!


Sharing the Protective Factors with your Team and your Community

CEBC Protective Factors Resource Guide
CalTrin’s partner project, the California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare (CEBC), created a simple two-page guide to understanding the Protective Factors Framework and how it can be applied to your work. In addition, the CEBC website features many topic areas that address Protective Factors, and their program registry can be used to identify evidence-based practices/programs to help meet the needs of families and the community. Learn more.

Children’s Trust Fund Alliance Online Training + Resources
The Alliance offers free, self-paced online training to support the implementation of the Strengthening Families™ Protective Factors Framework. Their curriculum includes new materials on partnering with parents and addresses promising strategies to strengthen families for practitioners. There are a total of seven self-paced modules, and participants receive a Certificate of Completion. View the course catalog.

Explore the Alliance’s National Parent Partnership Council (ANPPC) need2know parent resources, which are concise, just-in-time tools that target a special need, concern, or issue. This suite of resources includes tools, infographics, and conversation guides to share parent-to-parent strategies on how they use protective factors in their everyday lives. Materials are available in both Spanish and English.

Protective Factors Conversation Guides
The Children’s Bureau created the Protective Factors Conversation Guides to help service providers engage caregivers in personalized conversations about the Protective Factors. Each set (one for each factor) includes a guide for service providers and a worksheet for caregivers. These can be used one-on-one, as part of a structured activity for a larger group, or for in-person or virtual settings. Conversation Guides are available in English and Spanish. Access guides here.

Factores de protección para una familia fuerte (Protective Factors for a Strong Family)
Cuando la vida se pone difícil, hay ciertas fortalezas, llamadas factores de protección, que pueden ayudar a los padres a superar los desafíos y unir a su familia. Esta hoja informativa de Child Welfare Information Gateway explica qué son los factores de protección y da ejemplos de cómo pueden identificarse en situaciones de la vida real. También ofrece consejos y recursos para ayudar a los padres a fortalecer y aplicar cada factor en sus propias vidas para ayudar a su familia a salir adelante. Descarga aquí (Download here).

*Last updated September 21, 2023