Protecting Vulnerable Children & Families – Educator Resources

Prevention of Adverse Childhood Experiences(ACEs) is important at all levels: individual, family and community. Below is a selected list of resources and research findings that explores protective factors related to the prevention of childhood adversity.

Protective Factors to Promote Well-Being. A service of the Children’s Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Child Welfare Information Gateway promotes the safety, permanency, and well-being of children, youth, and families by providing access to print and electronic resources, data bases and tools covering topics on child welfare, child abuse and neglect, out-of-home care, adoption, and more. This subsection of the website includes resources related to protective factors that can mitigate risk in families and communities and increase the health and well-being of children and families.

Strengthening Families Protective Factors Framework The Center for the Study of Social Policy maintains a rich library of resources to support implementation of the Strengthening Families Protective Factors Framework that focuses on Five Protective Factors: Parental Resilience; Social Connections; Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development; Concrete Support in Times of Need and Social & Emotional Competence of Children.

Five For Families From The Wisconsin Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board, this user-friendly website offers concrete ways families can build the Five Protective Factors

Bringing the Protective Factors Framework to Life in Your Work The National Alliance of Children’s Trust and Prevention Funds offers a series of online training courses to support implementation of the Strengthening Families™ Protective Factors Framework in multiple settings. The course can be found here. The Wisconsin Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board coordinates this initiative throughout Wisconsin.

Interrupting Child Maltreatment Across Generations through Safe Stable Nurturing Relationships. The articles available here are from a special supplement of the Journal of Adolescent Health. The articles investigate the role of safe, stable, nurturing relationships and social contexts in the lives of children and their caregivers, as well as provide insight into relational factors that influence the intergenerational cycle of child maltreatment. A number of important avenues to improve the lives of children and families by preventing violence and promoting health and well-being are shared.

Building Adult Capabilities to Improve Child Outcomes This concept brief from the Harvard Center on the Developing Child discusses the capabilities that adults need to succeed in life and support the development of the next generation.

Building Adult Capabilities to Improve Child Outcomes Video. This video presents a theory of change for achieving breakthrough outcomes for vulnerable children and families. It describes the need to focus on building the capabilities of caregivers and strengthening the communities that together form the environment of relationships essential to children’s lifelong learning, health, and behavior.

Podcasts about Protective Factors. This two-part podcast series highlights the Center for the Study of Social Policy’s Strengthening Families protective factors framework and how it can be used in child and family-serving systems.
Protective Factors Part 1 delves into protective factors definitions, what it means to focus on family strengths and how professionals can identify and recognize protective factors when engaging parents.
Protective Factors Part 2 covers why and how Arlington County, VA implemented a protective factors approach, including how they’ve trained staff and supervisors and lessons learned about how agency leadership can lead staff to embrace the shift toward protective factors.

Farm Stress Educators. Ongoing economic conditions in agriculture are taking a toll on farm families and their rural communities. These resources from the University of Wisconsin-Division of Extension give educators tools and resources to help farmers, families, businesses, and communities remain resilient during stressful times. (This site requires a UW Login)

Resilient Farms Families Businesses and Communities: Responding to Stress. This is a public facing site that corresponds with the above to support farm families and their communities during times of stress. These resource from the University of Wisconsin-Division of Extension is designed to help farmers, families, businesses, and communities remain resilient.

The Raising of America: Early Childhood and the Future of Our Nation. This acclaimed five-part documentary series and companion tools illustrate how a strong start for all our children can lead to better individual outcomes and a healthier, safer, more prosperous and equitable America. This series can be used to provide background information on the impact of toxic stress on children as well as a way to build an understanding among partners interested in the well-being of children and their families. UW-Extension Family Living Educators have unlimited free access to this documentary series for one year through June 6th, 2018. For access information contact Mary Wood

The Protective Role of Grandparents and Other Relatives in Raising Children Exposed to Trauma. This recently published report from the National Center on Grandfamilies discusses the critical role that grandparents and other caregivers can play in creating safe, stable and nurturing environments for children who have experienced trauma.

For questions or suggestions related to this page, please contact the Protecting Vulnerable Children & Families page editor, Mandi Dornfeld at

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