ALAMOSA — La Puente’s Adelante Supportive Services Housing program hosted the first “Strengthening Families: Protective Factors” training in the San Luis Valley. Over two days, 30 employees from the Department of Human Services from all six counties of the SLV, staff from Early Childhood Council and La Llave Family Resource Center joined together to learn more about a new approach in working with families and individuals.
The “Strengthening Families Through 5 Protective Factors” is a strength-based, cost-effective framework developed by the National Alliance of Children Trust and Prevention over the last decade to increase family strengths, enhance child development and reduce child abuse and neglect. This approach helps child welfare systems, early education, prevention organizations and other programs work with parents to build five protective factors that, when present, increase the overall well-being of children and families.
Five Protective Factors are the foundation of the Strengthening Families approach:
· Parental resilience
· Knowledge of parenting and child development
· Concrete supports in the time of need
· Social connections
· Supporting healthy social & emotional development in young children
Adelante is proud to be a leader in bringing this approach to the SLV. For years, Adelante has worked with families seeking to escape homelessness and done so with a strong commitment to dignity and respect. The Strengthening Families training aligns naturally with Adelante’s values and approach. Families thrive when protective factors are robust in their lives and communities. Adelante is a strong supporter of this work because they believe the framework benefits ALL families, it builds on family strengths, buffers risk, and promotes better outcomes.
Through the training, participants were encouraged to create new relationships with families by looking at families through a different lens. They will seek to support parent’s ability to parent effectively by actively involving parents in mutually supportive relationships. Jamie Snow, assistant director of Adelante says, “Our parents are the drivers. Our job is to be navigators helping connect them to the things they need to make their families thrive.”
By training others in this model, Adelante hopes to increase the understanding of how important the role every community member plays in building and promoting protective factors to reduce risk and create optimal outcomes for children, youth and families. But moreover, the Strengthening Families model seeks to recognize and support parents as decision makers and leaders, by valuing the culture and unique assets of each family and taking mutual responsibility for better outcomes for children, youth and families.
As Tara Bary, director of La Puente’s Adelante family puts it. “When we shift the focus for providers and community members, when we can begin to focus on what’s right with a family, rather than what’s wrong, we can begin to make real progress for families.”
If you or your organization works with families and/or wants to be part of a community effort to better support families please contact La Puente’s Adelante Program to learn more about the Strengthening Families: Protective Factors Training, 719-587-0538.
Caption: Employees from the Department of Human Services, staff from Early Childhood Council and La Llave Family Resource Center learn more about a new approach in working with families and individuals./Courtesy photo