Smart Start Payne County will join the statewide kick off of the Strengthening Families campaign Sept. 5. Strengthening Families is a new effective and affordable strategy for child abuse and neglect prevention that occurs at early care and education sites and was initiated by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Center for the Study of Social Policy. The new Strengthening Families approach will incorporate evidence based protective factors in early childhood education programs.

There are five protective factors associated with the Strengthening Families approach. Parental resilience, social connections, knowledge of parenting and child development and concrete support in times of need are the factors that relate to adult family members with the final protective factor, healthy social and emotional development, relating to children. This new strategy examines each of the five protective factors and implements programs focusing on these areas in early care and education settings.

Smart Start Payne County will integrate Strengthening Families in a variety of ways beginning with a pilot project that will include five child care centers in Payne County. These local child care sites will receive benefits including an opportunity for additional financial and human resources, additional teacher and director training in areas that Strengthen Families, individualized mentoring, as well as parent education. For more information about Strengthening Families visit www.cssp.org or call 377-2786.

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