Strengthening Families Project

A Protective Factors Framework

Strengthening Families is a strategy to increase family strengths, enhance child development and reduce child abuse and neglect. It focuses on building five (5) Protective Factors in families, providing parents with what they need to parent effectively even under stress. This framework can be integrated into any existing programs, strategies, systems and community opportunities.

The five factors are:

  • Parental Resilience

  • Social Connection

  • Knowledge of Parenting & Child Development

  • Concrete Support in Time of Need

  • Social & Emotional Competence of Children

Idaho AEYC is committed to "training trainers" nationally in Strengthening Families Basic Toolbox Training, Parent Workshop Manual, and a child sexual abuse prevention training called Responsible Adults/Safe Children.

Strengthening Families is a framework developed by Center for the Study of Social Policy over the last decade to prevent child abuse and neglect. To learn more, visit the CSSP webpage.

Strengthening Families Accomplishments

In 2008, Idaho AEYC developed the Toolbox Training that consists of eight modules, 17 hours of basic training in the protective factor framework. These trainings have been delivered to thousands of Idaho participants. The training curriculum is also available in Spanish.

The IdahoSTARS project embeds Strengthening Families in the Strengthening Families and Communities standard of the Quality Rating and Improvement System for child care facilities, Steps to Quality.

Our newest offering is the Strengthening Families Parent Workshop Manual, consisting of 19 interactive, simple-to-follow, hour-long workshop lesson plans that introduce the protective factor framework directly to parents.

The IdahoSTARS project has Strengthening Families as one of the eight Quality Standards in the Quality Rating and Improvement System for child care facilities. Idaho is the only state that has a distinct standard that measures the trainings and implementation of the Strengthening Families framework in practice.

Strengthening Families Toolbox Training

The Strengthening Families basic level trainings consist of one 3-hour "Overview" module plus seven 2-hour modules corresponding to each of the seven Strengthening Families strategies—a total of 17 hours of training. They are all IdahoSTARS project approved trainings in Component 10, Protective Factors.

  • Taking these trainings and implementing them in your workplace meet several of the indicators in the Strengthening Families Quality Standard of the Quality Rating and Improvement System.

These seven strategies support the five Protective Factors which are the basis of the Strengthening Families framework. See the IdahoSTARS Project Training Calendar for trainings in your region.

  • Module 1-Overview
  • Module 2-Value and Support Parents
  • Module 3-Facilitate Friendships and Mutual Support
  • Module 4-Facilitate Children's Social and Emotional Development
  • Module 5-Strengthening parenting
  • Module 6-Link Families to Services and Opportunities
  • Module 7-Respond to Family Crises
  • Module 8-Observe and Respond to Early Warning Signs of Child Abuse and Neglect
Strengthening Families History

In 2007, in collaboration with the Idaho Children's Trust Fund, the first version of the Strengthening Families Toolbox Training was developed and piloted throughout the state. Jane Zink and Maureen Durning of Idaho AEYC and Margaret Hower of Idaho CTF were the primary authors of the curriculum. This original training was six modules, 13 hours. Seven trainers delivered the trainings to 22 pilot sites.

In 2008, the training toolbox was expanded to its current 8-module, 17 hour format and 8 additional trainers were trained. In 2010, another 15 trainers were trained, bringing the Idaho training team total to 30.

Our Strengthening Families Partners