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 invested in the existing service delivery system by extending funding for programs that adopted the protective factors and demonstrated high performance in achieving outcomes that fit within the Initiative. Based on an extensive review process, the following programs were awarded funds:
- Butte Baby Steps (a Healthy Families America program)
- Parents as Teachers – Chico Unified and Thermalito Union School Districts
- Teenage Pregnant and Parenting (TAPP) Program
- Parent Education Experiential Resource (PEER)
In the late 2012, the Commission released over $2 in an RFP process to bolster the SF Initiative. As a result of that process, the following programs received funding in 2013:
- Butte 211 (HelpCentral.org)
- Raising the Child (Hmong Cultural Center)
- Paradise Ridge Strengthening Families
- Bridge to Kindergarten (Chico Unified School District, transitional kindergarten program)
- Parent Cafés (Valley Oak Children’s Services)
The SFI is in the early stages of development. As it evolves, this page will be updated.