Center for the Study of Social Policy’s Strengthening Families™, a Protective Factors Framework

Strengthening Families is a framework developed by the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) over the last decade to prevent child abuse and neglect. This approach helps child welfare systems, early education and other programs work with parents to build the following protective factors:

Parental resilience
Social connections
Concrete support in times of need
Knowledge of parenting and child development
Social and emotional competence of children

Families thrive when protective factors are robust in their lives and communities. Using the Strengthening Families Approach, more than 30 states are shifting policy, funding and training to help programs working with children and families build protective factors with families. Many states and counties also use the Protective Factors Framework to align services for children and families, strengthen families in the child welfare system and work in partnership with families and communities to build protective factors. For more information and many tools and options for implementation, visit

Nationally, Strengthening Families is coordinated by the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) and supported by national partner organizations including: 

Child Welfare Information Gateway:

The Finance Project:

FRIENDS National Resource Center:

The National Alliance of Children’s Trust and Prevention Funds:

Parents  As Teachers:

United Way Worldwide:




The National Alliance of Children’s Trust and Prevention Funds (Alliance)

The Alliance is the membership organization for state children’s trust and prevention funds (CTFs) – the backbone of our nation’s infrastructure to support children and their families. To help ensure optimal outcomes for children and their families, the Alliance implements strategies that strengthen families, build protective factors, promote individual growth, help systems be more responsive to families and children and strengthen communities’ capacities as safe and healthy environments.

The Alliance members are collectively the largest funders of community based child abuse prevention strategies in the country and each year invest approximately $100,000,000 in strengthening families and preventing all forms of child abuse and neglect. They fund proven effective programs, implement strategies to improve systems that impact families and serve as catalysts for new initiatives in their states. CTFs are most often the key leaders of the family strengthening/ child abuse prevention movement in their states. They work collaboratively with numerous partners from early childhood, child welfare, mental health and others who share our mission.

To see the full array of resources available from the Alliance that promote use of the Strengthening Families™ Protective Factors Framework, as well as other resources regarding the prevention of child abuse and neglect, please visit the Alliance website at  The Alliance provides training and technical assistance throughout the country. We welcome any questions you may have or requests regarding how we can best support your vital work with children and their families.