National Child Abuse Prevention Month – Protective Factors
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. The theme this year is “Thriving Children and Families: Prevention with Purpose.” Throughout the month, we will be sharing resources to help you inform, educate, and engage your community in preventing child neglect and abuse.
Protective factors help promote well-being and assist families and communities in supporting children and youth. They provide a framework that focuses on assisting individuals in developing skills and strategies that contribute to a positive foundation for the future.
Experts in abuse prevention define protective factors as “conditions or attributes that, when present in families and communities, increase the well-being of children and families and reduce the likelihood of maltreatment and eliminate risk.”
By gaining knowledge of protective factors, staff and volunteers will be better prepared to help families obtain resources, support, or learn coping strategies allowing them to parent more effectively, even when under stress.
Here are the six protective factors:
- Nurturing and attachment – Early childhood experiences affect all aspects of behavior and development. When children and parents develop a strong bond, the result is increased trust, positive guidance, and protection.
- Knowledge of parenting and child and youth development – Successful parenting fosters psychological adjustment, helps children succeed, encourages curiosity, and motivates them to achieve.
- Parent resilience – Building resilience is essential during times of stress and crisis, such as unemployment, health issues, and community violence. Resources support building resilience.
- Social connections – Include resources that promote healthy and positive peer-to-peer interactions to enhance a family’s social connections and support network.
- Concrete support for parents – Helping parents identify and access resources that can help eliminate stress often reduces child and youth maltreatment risk. Being able to direct families to good resources such as national helplines, the United Way, and other programs are beneficial.
- Social and emotional competence of children – A child’s social and emotional competence is an important factor in creating healthy relationships with family, adults, and peers. Early detection of delayed competence is the key to providing support for appropriate development.
Understanding the protective factors and the available resources will help strengthen the children, youth, and families your organization serves.
Together we can make a difference! Please share this information and help spread the word about the resources available for National Child Abuse Prevention Month.