Prevention

Research has shown that the good can outweigh the bad. 

Protective factors are conditions or attributes in individuals, families, communities, or the larger society that, when present, mitigate or eliminate risk in families and communities and increase the health and well-being of children and families.

Five protective factors are linked to a lower incidence of child abuse and neglect.

These specific factors help parents find resources, supports, or coping strategies that allow them to parent effectively, even under stress.

Managing stress and functioning well when faced with challenges, adversity and trauma.

Parents who can cope with the stresses of everyday life, as well an occasional crisis, have resilience. They have the flexibility and inner strength necessary to bounce back when things are not going well. Multiple life stressors, such as a family history of abuse and/or neglect, health problems, marital conflict, or domestic or community violence—and financial stressors such as unemployment, poverty, and homelessness—may reduce a parent's capacity to cope effectively with the typical day-to-day stresses of raising children.

Learn more from the Center for the Study of Social Policy's Strengthening Protective Factors Framework

Positive relationships that provide emotional, informational, instrumental, and spiritual support.

Parents with a social network of emotionally supportive friends, family, and neighbors often find that it is easier to care for their children and themselves. Most parents need people they can call on once in a while when they need a sympathetic listener, advice, or concrete support. Research has shown that parents who are isolated, with few social connections, are at higher risk for child abuse and/or neglect.

Learn more from the Center for the Study of Social Policy's Strengthening Protective Factors Framework

Access to concrete support and services that address a family’s needs and help minimize stress caused by challenges.

Many factors affect a family's ability to care for their children. Families who can meet their own basic needs for food, clothing, housing, and transportation—and who know how to access essential services such as childcare, health care, and mental health services to address family-specific needs—are better able to ensure the safety and well-being of their children.  Partnering with parents to identify and access resources in the community may help prevent the stress that sometimes precipitates child abuse and/or neglect. Providing concrete supports may also help prevent the unintended neglect that sometimes occurs when parents are unable to provide for their children.

Learn more from the Center for the Study of Social Policy's Strengthening Protective Factors Framework

Understanding child development and parenting strategies that support physical, cognitive, language, and social and emotional development.

There is extensive research linking healthy child development to effective parenting. Children thrive when parents provide not only affection, but also respectful communication and listening, consistent rules and expectations, and safe opportunities that promote independence. Successful parenting fosters psychological adjustment, helps children succeed in school, encourages curiosity about the world, and motivates children to achieve.

Learn more from the Center for the Study of Social Policy's Strengthening Protective Factors Framework

Family and child interactions that help children develop the ability to communicate clearly, recognize and regulate their emotions, and establish and maintain relationships.

Parents support healthy social and emotional development in children when they model how to express and communicate emotions effectively, self-regulate, and make friends. A child's social and emotional competence is crucial to sound relationships with family, adults, and peers. Conversely, delayed social-emotional development may obstruct healthy relationships. Early identification of such delays and early assistance for children and parents can provide support for family relationships and sustain positive and appropriate development.

Learn more from the Center for the Study of Social Policy's Strengthening Protective Factors Framework

Colorado Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline
1-844-CO-4-KIDS (1‑844‑264‑5437)
Available 24 hours a day, every day. Don't hesitate to call and get help. 
Anyone witnessing a child in a life-threatening situation should call 911 immediately.