Knowledge Base

What are family protective factors?

What are family protective factors?

< All Topics

Protective factors are attributes of individuals, families, communities, and societies that mitigate risk and promote healthy development and well-being of children and families. Family protective factors are the strengths that safeguard children and help families thrive in the face of adversity. With the right resources and support, a child and family’s ability to overcome challenges can be strengthened.

Parenting resilience

  • Caregiver(s) can manage stress and function well when faced with challenges and major life events or unexpected events. 
  • When parents can model managing stressors mentally and emotionally, a child can find security in their parent’s resilience and attitude as they face uncertainty together. 

Social connections

  • Healthy caregivers are connected to community. This community can range from family, friends, work colleagues, church members, or community members.   
  • The ability to build and maintain positive relationships will help provide the family the relational support they need to thrive in community. That connectedness to others will provide them with a mental sense of security.
  • These connections can provide support of different kinds. Examples can be emotional or spiritual support. Another may be community ties, the relational network a family can lean on in times of adversity. 

Parenting and child development knowledge

  • When parents understand child development and are provided strategies to improve their parenting skills, we see children and families strengthened together.
  • Parenting strategies need to equip parents and caregivers to be knowledgeable in various aspects of child development such as physical, cognitive, language, social, and emotional development.

Concrete support

  • Every family needs access to support and services, it’s an essential part of overcoming life’s challenges. Developing ways to help families identify their concrete supports is essential to helping them prepare for challenges and minimize stress. 
  • These supports can range from a safe home and environment, mental health, educational support, legal services, medical treatment, healthy food. 

Social and emotional competence

  • Everyone in the family needs to be able to recognize and regulate their own emotions. Without this, children and families will struggle to communicate clearly and relationships will be more challenging.
  • Improving an individual’s social and emotional competence will directly correlate to their abilty to form and maintain positive relationships with everyone in their immediate community.
  • The ability to communicate one’s emotions and needs is an essential skill to equip children and parents with. If they are able to share openly about what’s happening internally, they can work towards a secure child-parent relationship that allows for stability, healing, and growth.
  • Here are a few more competencies to develop: 
  • Being a good listener
  • Taking responsibility
  • Setting and communicating boundaries
  • Ability to take criticism
  • Ability to empathize with others
  • Apologizing and asking for forgiveness

Additional Resources

  • Protective Factors Approaches in Child Welfare- Access resource here
  • Attachment after Adversity by Christian Alliance for Orphans is available here.