Strengthening Families™ in West Virginia

Launched in 2001 by the Center for the Study of Social Policy, Strengthening Families is a research-based, cost-effective strategy to increase family strengths, enhance child development and reduce child abuse and neglect. Through the Strengthening Families Initiative, more than 30 states are shifting policy, funding and training to help programs build these Protective Factors with the children and families they serve. Many states are also using the Strengthening Families approach to integrate state prevention strategies, focus on families in the child welfare system and engage parents and communities.

The initiative focuses on building the following six protective factors within families, which are linked with many positive outcomes including reductions in child abuse and neglect: 

  • parental resilience;

  • social connections;

  • knowledge of parenting and child development; 

  • concrete support in times of need;

  • social and emotional competence of children; and 

  • nurturing and attachment.  

The Strengthening Families approach and In-Home Family Education program models share common values. With a focus on protective factors, rather than risk factors, family strengths are enhanced to buffer risk factors. In-Home Family Educators are in the home during the early years to assist families in identifying and recognizing their strengths. The Strengthening Families approach and In-Home Family Education believe that all families can use support and enhancement of the six protective factors, instead of services being targeted only at those families identified as “at-risk.”

Strengthening Families in West Virginia includes efforts by multiple state and community partners such as the West Virginia Children’s Trust Fund, the Bureau for Children & Families, the Bureau for Public Health and Prevent Child Abuse West Virginia. The State’s Prevention Leadership Council is overseeing implementation efforts, which depends on collaboration among administrators of West Virginia’s Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems (ECCS) grant initiative, Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) Program, Early Care and Education, Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visitation (MIECHV) grant and the statewide Early Childhood Advisory Council (ECAC). For more information: 



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