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Protective Factors

Promoting Protective Factors for the Well-being of Children and Families

Protective Factors are the building blocks of the "Strengthening Families" approach for child development and wellness. Strengthening Families is a research-based, cost-effective framework developed by the Center for the Study of Social Policy. It has been developed over the last decade to increase family strengths, enhance child development and reduce child abuse and neglect. Protective Factors are strengths within families and communities that serve to protect children and promote healthy development and well-being.

How 211 LA Care Coordinators Use the Protective Factors:

  • Conduct a Protective Factor Assessment to identify parent/caregiver stresses and needs; the successful coping strategies they already using; and their personal, family, and community resources/support.

  • Conduct evidence-based developmental screening and provide the needed care coordination follow-up for children at-risk for a potential delay or disability to receive the identified intervention services in a timely and effective manner.

  • Ensure connections and essential services, supports, and resources that will feel most relevant and helpful to the parents/caregivers.

  • Provide the additional support that parents/caregivers may need in identifying their needs, addressing their feelings about asking for help, navigating eligibility requirements, or overcoming access barriers (such as having a reliable and consistent phone connection, transportation or child care).

Five Protective Factors have been identified as the foundation of the Strengthening families approach. 211 LA is putting the protective factors into action through its Child Development Care Coordination program:

Parental Resilience is the ability to manage stress and function well when faced with challenges, adversity and trauma. For parents and caregivers, resilience includes:

  • Not allowing stressors to keep one from providing nurturing attention to one's child
  • Solving parenting problems as they arise
  • Having a positive attitude about one's parenting role and responsibility
  • Seeking help for one's child when needed


How 211 LA Care Coordinators help build Parental Resilience:

  • Connect parents to programs and services that help manage stress and deal with crises, 
  • Refer parents and caregivers to programs that offer family-to-family support and mentorship and parenting classes
  • Determine if referrals to family counseling programs, substance abuse treatment, domestic violence programs and self-help groups are needed or valuable

Social Connections are positive relationships that are instrumental in providing emotional, informational, and spiritual support. Parents need and value friends, family, neighbors, co-workers and others in the community who care about them and their children. Social Connections includes:

  • Building trusting relationships; feeling respected and appreciated
  • Having friends, family members, neighbors and others who: provide concrete assistance such as helping with transportation, serve as a resource for parenting information, provide hope and encouragement, help solve problems, help buffer parents from stressors can reduce feelings of isolation, and more
  • Having a sense of connection that enables parents to feel secure, confident, and empowered to "give back" to others.

How 211 LA Care Coordinators help build Social Connections:

  • Provide connections and ensures services from programs offering family engagement and social activities in the community that can include exercise, recreational opportunities, relaxation, parent support groups, activities and venues for family focused gatherings and spiritual support.

Parenting is part natural and part learned. Kids thrive when caregivers understand timely child growth and are responsive to child needs, which fosters secure attachments and brain development.

Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development includes understanding child development and parenting strategies that support physical, cognitive, language, social and emotional development. It's core meaning is seeking, acquiring, and using accurate and age/stage-related information about:

  • Parental behaviors that lead to early secure attachments
  • The importance of being attuned and emotionally available to one's child; being nurturing, responsive and reliable; regular, predictable and consistent in routines; interactive language experiences; providing a physically and emotionally safe environment for one's child; providing opportunities for one's child to explore and learn by doing
  • Appropriate developmental expectations
  • Positive discipline techniques
  • Recognizing and attending to the special needs of a child

How 211 LA Care Coordinators support Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development: 

  • Conduct evidence-based developmental screenings with standardized parent questionnaires to provide parents the information and knowledge on how their child is growing and developing for his or her and age, and to identify potential developmental and behavioral concerns.
  • Access 211 LA’s established network of early childhood and intervention providers to ensure that identified services from the screening results are obtained in a timely and efficient manner, removing barriers to access for securing the needed services and supports.

Resilience is gained when parents know whom and where to go for help and basic needs.

Relationships with consistent, caring and attuned adults will give children interpersonal skills, leave them feeling loved, and give them a sense of belonging. 211 LA provides connections and ensures services from programs offering parent-child interaction training opportunities and programs on how parents can nurture and connect with their child at every age.

In addition to the child-parent interaction, 211 LA Care Coordinators ensure the health and well being of caregivers by offering maternal depression screenings (PHQ-9) and connections and services from 211 LA’s partner organizations with expertise in maternal and infant early childhood mental health. 211 LA Care Coordinators ensure connections and services from programs improve the quality of the parent-child relationship.

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