Protective Factors Framework

Protective Factors Framework:

To build strong, resilient families, organizations need to build up the protective factors of the caregivers raising a child with a disability. The Protective Factors Framework was created in 2003 by the Center for the Study of Social Policy as a strength-based initiative to prevent child abuse and neglect. Care 4 the Caregivers has infused this framework with examples from the disability community. This training shows how each protective factor is impacted by a diagnosis, gives organizations a conceptual framework of each protective factor, and gives organizations pedagogical tools they can use to make changes that will help strengthen families.
Program Information:
There are seven training courses, and organizations either register for all of them or can pick one or two protective factors. Each training will be 2 hours.

The 7 courses are:

  • Introduction – This module introduces the concept of the strength-based theory and how it plays a role in the protective factor. Individuals must first understand their own biases to use a strength-based lens. The new content will guide an organization in identifying the internal biases holding them back from working with families in a strength-based approach.
  • Parental Resilience – This module defines resilience, teaches everyday actions to build parent resilience, and facilitates activities that help parents realize how they are resilient. Resilience can show up differently in all families. Though, this is especially true for parents of children with disabilities. Parents’ fears of the unique hardships their child faces or that their child may never become independent contribute to increased stress. Additionally, the intensity of behavioral challenges, the inability to get their children to eat different foods, get on a sleep schedule, and toilet train increase parental stress and fracture any sense of resilience that parents thought they had.
  • Social Connections –  The framework addresses how friendships can provide parents empathy, support, advice, and relief. It will also describe how organizations can foster social connections with the families they serve. Yet, not all friends understand the challenges of raising a child with a disability. In fact, their lack of understanding can often contribute to feelings of hurt and isolation. Thus, it is critical to adopt strategies to help parents of children with disabilities to foster connections with other parents of children with disabilities.
  • Concrete Support in Times of Need – All parents need help sometimes. Whether it is childcare, paying bills, or fixing a flat tire. However, the help parents of children with disabilities need are often more specific. The new curriculum will provide information specific to education the parents of children with disabilities need regarding how to ask for help, for what, and from who. New content will focus on understanding the stresses of being a parent of a child with a disability and how organizations can adequately assist parents they interact with. In this section, organizations will also learn how to recognize signs of abuse and neglect within the disability population.
  • Knowledge of Parenting – Parents of children with disabilities can become frustrated when general parenting tips do not apply to their child. So, how may they acquire knowledge of parenting from trusted resources? The new content will include how disability can play a role in when and how children will reach different developmental milestones.
  • Social and Emotional Competence of Children – Children with disabilities demonstrate different social and emotional competence of children. The Strengthening Families Protective Factors only include competencies that apply to population averages. However, how can parents adjust their expectations to nurturing social and emotional competence in a differently-abled child? The new Protective Factors Framework supplemental material will focus on the importance of communication for children with disabilities and how to create natural social environments for those with disabilities.
  • Wrap Up –  During the wrap-up session, organizations will review everything they learned and create action items. They will not only outline practices they are going. To start to implement but also reflect on practices their organization will stop doing.

Community Members Served:

This is a professional development course for organizations that work with the disability population.

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