Strengthening Families

NJ Strengthening Families Initiative (NJ SFI) is an approach to preventing child abuse and neglect by strengthening families through early care and education. The Center for the Study of Social Policy developed the Strengthening Families through Early Care and Education Framework. The fundamental principle is that certain protective factors contribute towards family resiliency and strength. Early Care and Education Centers play a prominent role in building these protective factors among the families they serve. Through seven key strategies, centers can become well-positioned to help families build these protective factors that have proven to be effective in preventing child abuse and neglect.

Specific strategies from Exemplary Early Care and Education Programs that build protective factors:

  • Facilitate friendships and mutual support
  • Strengthen parenting
  • Respond to family crises
  • Link families to services and opportunities
  • Value and support parents
  • Facilitate the social and emotional development of children
  • Observe and respond to early warning signs of child abuse or neglect

Protective Factors

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