The Strengthening Families Through Early Care & Education Initiative is an approach to preventing child abuse and neglect by supporting families through childcare programs. The Center for the Study of Social Policy developed the framework for Strengthening Families through Early Care and Education Initiative. The fundamental principle is that certain protective factors contribute towards family resiliency and strength. These key protective factors are Parent resilience, Social connections, Knowledge of parenting and child development, Concrete support in times of need, and Healthy social and emotional development. Early Care and Education Centers play a prominent role in building these protective factors among the families they serve. Through seven key strategies, centers become well positioned to help families build these protective factors that have proven to be effective in preventing child abuse and neglect. This approach uses early childhood programs to build evidence-based protective factors for children and their families. This is a strength-based approach which builds on existing assets to keep all families strong and all children safe.
Child & Family Resources works with the local Division of Youth and Family Services office in identifying early childhood program selected from an area that has high incidences of substantiated cases of child abuse and neglect and serves children birth through age 6. By recent estimates, nearly 60 percent of all children under age six are in care out of their homes for at least part of the day. For children birth to age three, the percentage is even higher: 75 percent. While early care and education doesn’t reach all families with young children, it is the only system that reaches a large proportion of young children and their parents on a daily basis.
This program builds the capacity of the early childhood programs to implement strategies that increase protective factors to prevent child abuse and neglect among the families they serve by providing training and technical assistance. We:
- Provide participating early childhood programs with the Strengthening Families guide book and Self Assessment Tool.
- Provide trainings on the protective factors framework. (Social and Emotional Competence of Young Children, Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development, Social Connections, Concrete Support In Times of Need, and Parental Resilience)
- Provide technical assistance to the center and their families.
- Utilize SFI Family Satisfaction Survey Pre/Post to assess progress.
Strengthening Families Program Selection Process:
- August: Release request for applications (Applications for interested programs are accepted August 1st through September 1st. Applications submitted after 4:00 PM on September 1st will not be accepted.)
- September 1st: Last day to submit an application for consideration. (Applications recieved after 4:00 PM on September 1st will not be accepted.)
- September: Applicaions are scored and ranked. Programs are notified by September 30th.
- October 1st Services begin (Details about the services provided are outlined in the SFI Agreement to Commit document in the resource list to the right.)