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WHAT IS STRENGTHENING FAMILIES GEORGIA?
Strengthening Families Georgia (SFG) represents a multi-disciplinary partnership of nearly 50 national, state and local, and public and private organizations dedicated to embedding five research-based Protective Factors into services and supports for children and their families. SFG is housed at Prevent Child Abuse Georgia located within Georgia State University.

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Using Protective Factors to Get Through Difficult Times.

Strengthening Families is an approach used to provide support to parents and caregivers, based on five protective factors. Click through the tabs to see protective factors resources families can use to minimize the impact of stress associated with the Coronavirus.

We encourage any families struggling and in need of support to call the bilingual 1-800-CHILDREN Helpline (1-800-244-5373) or visit www.PCAGeorgiaHelpline.org.

Parental ResilienceKnowledge of Child DevelopmentSocial ConnectionsSocial & Emotional CompetenceConcrete Support

Parental Resilience — Parents Can Bounce Back

Parental resilience is the ability to recover from or be strengthened by difficult experiences. It means finding ways to solve problems, building and maintaining trusting relationships (including relationships with your own child), and knowing how and when to seek help.

Resilience includes all the other protective factors — having concrete support in times of need, being socially connected, building social emotional competence, and having knowledge of child development. Resilience comes from those around us, our community, and ourselves. It is important to nurture yourself in times of stress.

Ideas for Self-Care

  • Take time for yourself, even if only a couple minutes, and focus on your emotional health.

  • Take breaks from watching and reading the news or being on social media.

  • Do yoga at your house, even perhaps with your kids! Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.

  • Manage stress with Common Sense Media’s resources for de-stressing.

  • Check in regularly with friends, family, and neighbors virtually.

  • Reach out and ask for help; it’s okay not to always feel okay!

Knowledge of Parenting and of Child and Youth Development — Parents Know How Children and Youth Grow and Learn

Parents who understand the basics of child development have more realistic expectations of their children. These parents are better equipped to provide an appropriate amount of nurturing, supervision, and guidance. When parents understand their roles in their children’s lives and learn about specific parenting techniques and strategies, they can form positive relationships with their children and have options for appropriate responses to typical child behaviors.

Healthychildren.org is a great resource to learn about each stage of child and youth development. They provide helpful information from prenatal to teen. Click Ages and Stages to learn more.

Additionally, parents and children face many challenges during an extended time away from school. During this time, it is critically important for parents to maintain their children’s engagement with learning.

Find several free or discounted (and fun) online resources for students of all ages here.

Social Connections — Parents Have Friends

Networks of support are essential for parents and offer opportunities to stay connected through community during this time of physical distancing. There are tons of ways to stay connected while being physically separated.

Ideas for How to Stay Close to Friends and Family Despite Coronavirus

  • Video call grandparents

  • Participate in virtual gatherings with friends

  • Call neighbors to check-in

  • Spend quality time with your housemates without screens

  • Set up a Facebook or FaceTime playgroup for older children

  • Go outside for a walk and point out the sights you see with younger children

We all need to continue supporting each other during this stressful time.  Children need social connections to help manage their anxiety and stress.

Click for more examples of social connections.

Social and Emotional Competence of Children — Children Learn How to Talk About and Handle Feelings

A child’s ability to control their behavior and communicate their feelings positively impacts their relationship with their family. Challenging behaviors or delayed development create extra stress for families, so early identification and assistance for parents and children lessen negative outcomes and keep development on track.

During times of anxiety and stress, some children may have difficulty expressing their emotions. You may see an increase in negative behaviors as they try to process what they are feeling through actions. Allowing your child to express their concerns, while also helping them see that this “new normal” is not permanent, is an important way to help alleviate stress.

Changes to daily routines can be hard for children. They may be missing their teachers, their friends, social events like birthday parties, or playing team sports. Giving them some time to work through these emotions while also discouraging obsessive worry is important in helping children manage their behaviors. Remind your children that routines will return to normal eventually.

Talking with Children about Coronavirus

Parents and caregivers should limit children’s exposure to news coverage, social media and adult conversations about the Coronavirus. This exposure can cause unnecessary stress for children. However, it’s okay to provide age-appropriate information about Coronavirus to children. Parents and caregivers should ensure their children feel comfortable asking questions and talking about their concerns.

Find tips here on how parents and caregivers can talk to children about Coronavirus and address their fears.

Also provide opportunities for kids to access books, websites, and other activities that give information in child-friendly ways.

Get additional resources for encouraging social-emotional competence.

Concrete Support in Times of Need — Parents Know Where to Turn for Help

Providing food, clothing, housing and healthcare is often difficult. During times of economic crisis, it’s even more challenging for some families.

It’s okay to ask for help. Knowing where and when to get support is just another part of building a healthy, happy family.

PCA Georgia’s 1-800-CHILDREN (244-5373) Helpline

This tool is for parents and caregivers. The helpline is staffed by professional resource navigators who connect families with local organizations who provide various resources. Community resources are also online. Families can visit www.PCAGeorgiaHelpline.org to search for help anytime.

Additional Supports

  • For a Federally Qualified Health Center, please call the Georgia Family Healthline at 1-800-300-9003.

  • Assistance with essential services (finding food, paying bills), contact 211.

  • Food and Meal Services.

  • Childcare Centers that are open can be found by calling 1-877-ALL-GA-KIDS (1-877-255-4254) or going online to www.qualitycareforchildren.org.

  • School Meals for Students in Georgia — Contact your local school district for more information.

The Georgia Division of Family and Children Services encourages families to access self-service options online during this period.

Self-Service Options

CURRENT PARTNER SPOTLIGHT:  Georgia Head Start 

 

ARRANGE FOR A SFG TRAINING

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Learn more about the 5 Protective Factors or how to request an in-person training for your organization.

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