The Strengthening Families Essentials Curriculum intentionally builds off of the 17 hour Toolbox Training Series but can also be a stand-alone series.  The Essentials Modules were created by Maureen Durning & Jane Zink, respectively. They have shared their knowledge and the curriculum they created for their home state of Idaho, with Vermont. The Strengthening Families Essentials Curriculum consists of four 3-hour modules and takes a deep dive into: an overview of Strengthening Families & the components, protecting children from sexual abuse, keying into Strengthening Families from a program administrative perspective, and looking at Strengthening Families from the parent lens.

Module 1: Introduction to the Strengthening Families Protective Factor Framework

 

Description: This training is an introduction to the Strengthening Families Protective Factor framework.  Strengthening Families is an approach to child care that increases quality by focusing on the relationships we have with families.  It is designed to do three things: promote family strengths (every family has strengths), optimize child outcomes, and reduce the likelihood of child abuse and neglect.

When we use the framework we learn how to focus on our strengths and strengths in others.  We learn how our small interactions with parents can lessen the stress in their lives. And when parents are less stressed, the likelihood of child abuse and neglect goes down, and the likelihood that their children will thrive goes up.

Objectives: 1) Participants will understand the consequences of child abuse and neglect, and the power of the protective factor framework in preventing it. 2) Participants will identify, describe, and recognize firsthand the power of the 5 Protective/Promotive Factors in our own lives. 3) Participants will define and give examples of the seven strategies which support the development of the Strengthening Families Protective Factors. 4) Participants will: recognize strengths in challenging situations and identify strategies that can help to promote them. 5) Participants will identify the interpersonal skills needed to create and maintain good relationships.

 

Module 2: Sharing Leadership: Partnering with Parents

 

Description: This training is an introduction to creating partnership with families using the Strengthening Families Protective Factor framework Strengthening Families is an approach to child care that increases quality by focusing on the relationships we have with families.  It is designed to do three things: promote family strengths (every family has strengths), optimize child outcomes, and reduce the likelihood of child abuse and neglect. Partnering with parents, or parent leadership, is an important topic and implementation strategy to strengthen families, promote the protective factors, and improve the quality of child care.

Objectives: 1) Participants will define the term “leadership” and give examples of leadership activities. 2) Participants will explore the advantages of and the barriers to sharing leadership responsibilities with parents. 3) Participants will demonstrate an understanding of the definition and the importance of confidentiality. 4) Participants will list the four levels of the Strengthening Families Parent Engagement Strategies and give examples of each 5) Participants will design a plan to develop parent leadership among the parents of the children in their care.

 

Module 3: Responsible Adults, Safe Children

 

Description: This training is an introduction to preventing child sexual abuse using the Strengthening Families Protective Factor framework. As you probably remember from Essential Trainings 1 and 2, Strengthening Families is an approach to child care that increases quality by focusing on relationships we have with families.  It is designed to do three things: promote family strengths (every family has strengths), optimize child outcomes, and reduce the likelihood of child abuse and neglect. As parents and caregivers, we want to do all we can to protect our children while giving them the freedom they need to grow, to learn and to become healthy, happy adults.  In order to create safe environments for our children, we need the best available information. And so we research and talk freely about food allergies, internet use, using sunscreen, and bullying. When talking about keeping children safe from any risk, we focus on five characteristics of adults that will keep children safe. To consciously contribute to children’s safety, we must be many things:  the responsible adult, the compassionate adult, the informed adult, the approachable adult and the empowered adult. These selves serve us well when we make a safety plan for ‘stranger danger’ or ‘washing our food before we eat it’ or monitoring video games and internet usage. But all too often, we don’t consciously make a safety plan for child sexual abuse prevention.

 

Objectives: 1) Participants will address the cultural messages and social norms that build a wall of denial around the subject of child sexual abuse  2) Participants will Identify both personal and societal attitudes concerning child sexual abuse 3) Participants will Demonstrate understanding of the adult responsibility and opportunities for preventing child sexual abuse before it ever occurs 4) Participants will Identify healthy sexual behavior and become more comfortable talking about it 5) Participants will Learn and practice communication techniques in order to foster an open atmosphere of communication, even about difficult topics 6) Participants will create plans to prevent child abuse, neglect, and child sexual abuse.

 

Module 4: Committing to Strengthening Families

 

Description: Strengthening Families is an approach to child care that increases quality by focusing on the relationships we have with families.  It is designed to do three things: promote family strengths (every family has strengths), optimize child outcomes, and reduce the likelihood of child abuse and neglect. This training is all about making a commitment to apply the Protective Factor framework to our day to day work in order to make a difference in the lives of families– and in our own lives as well.

Objectives: 1) Participants will review and demonstrate an understanding of Strengthening Families Essential Trainings 1, 2, and 3. 2) Participants will define commitment and give examples of commitment in action 3) Participants will make an assessment of their personal job performance and how their values match those of the workplace 4) Participants will understand the components needed to successfully manage change. 5) Participants will identify and practice making the most of opportunities to build Protective Factors, on both a personal and organizational level. 6) Participants will make a plan to commit to Strengthening Families.