The desired result of the Strengthening Families Initiative is: “All families are well-equipped to help their children reach their optimal development and full potential.”
The Commission strives towards this goal by working with the Strengthening Families Framework to embed the following five protective factors in families and communities:
- Parental resilience
- Social connections
- Concrete support in times of need
- Knowledge of parenting and child development
- Social and emotional competence of children
A growing body of research, including the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study, indicates a causal link between child maltreatment and later-life risk of chronic physical, emotional, and social health issues. Protective factors act as a counter weight to these risk factors. They buffer the impact of what researchers call “toxic stress.” The extent to which the danger of the risk is reduced is the extent to which protective factors are at work, and research says that the protective factors make all the difference in the long run.
Strengthening Families is built upon two key beliefs: All families have strengths, and all families need support. The framework is creating a “new normal” for service organizations and systems, so that they see their work as building protective factors to reduce the potential for child maltreatment, to bolster resilience and mitigate the impact of traumatic events when they occur, and to create the best possible environment for a child’s development.
The Commission currently funds the following programs, all of which have adopted the protective factors and demonstrated high performance in achieving outcomes that fit within the Initiative:
- Butte Baby Steps (a Healthy Families America program) (Northern Valley Catholic Social Service)
- Teenage Pregnant and Parenting (TAPP) Program (Northern Valley Catholic Social Service)
- Butte 211 (Help Central, Inc.)
- Tu Tus Menyuam/Raising the Child (Hmong Cultural Center of Butte County)
- Paradise Ridge Strengthening Families Project (Youth for Change)
- Butte Parent Cafés (Valley Oak Children’s Services)