Leadership Team Update
The Strengthening Families Leadership Team Meeting was held on November 18, 2015. A brief report follows:
The meeting began with “Reports from the Ground,” a recurring segment which focuses on Strengthening Families Protective Factors (SFPF) implementation at the local level. Michelle Welsh, the Children’s Trust Fund Coordinator and Family Development Specialist at Berwick Family Center, presented how they incorporate the SFPF framework with families and staff. Berwick Family Center, a Children’s Trust Fund grantee, incorporates the protective factors in family development training, includes the protective factors in conversations with parents, and plans family group activities around themes related to the protective factors. The SFPF framework also influences the professional development of staff by incorporating discussions about the protective factors in staff meetings and reflective supervision. The organization also completed the Bringing the Protective Factors Framework to Life in Your Work series of courses which focus on intentionally incorporating this approach in your work with families.
The Strengthening Families Leadership Team has three subcommittees: Evaluation and Planning committee, Marketing committee, and the Professional Development committee. All Leadership Team members are welcome and encouraged to join a subcommittee if their work schedule and time permits. The Evaluation and Planning Committee has been developing an evaluation plan that will guide the work of the Leadership Team. They reviewed the logic model and progress on the evaluation plan with the leadership team. The Marketing Committee reviewed the Newsletter and an informational brochure on the Protective Factors available from the Center for the Study of Social Policy. Permission was granted from the Center for the Study of Social Policy to edit the brochure to make it Pennsylvania specific. The Professional Development Committee discussed engaging more parents in understanding and using the Protective Factors in their families lives and as community leaders. The Committee includes Leadership Team members who represent parent focused organizations. The remainder of the meeting was used to view the first episode of the Raising of America series. The second and third episodes will be viewed at the next meeting. It was requested that the Leadership Team members like the Facebook page if they had not yet done so.
The next meeting is scheduled for February 17, 2016 at 10am at the Center for Schools and Communities.
Policy Spotlight: Pennsylvania Home Visitor Competencies
The Pennsylvania Home Visitor Competencies (PHVC) framework was developed by the Professional Development workgroup of the Home Visitation Stakeholders group.
While parents and caregivers are a child’s first and primary teachers, most children are influenced by other adults who are involved in their family’s life. Home visitors support parent’s capacity to provide opportunities that expand their children’s early learning experiences. The PHVC offers a road map for home visitors to contribute to that effort. It communicates the critical areas of professional knowledge and skills that are necessary to help families thrive and children be successful in school and in life.
When home visitors use the professional knowledge and skills competencies self-assessment they are able to identify their strengths and areas for continued development.
When used in combination with Pennsylvania’s Early Learning Standards, the home visitor competencies can serve as a foundation for strength-based practices to be carried out within home visitation programs. Both PHVC and the Pennsylvania Early Learning Standards incorporate the Strengthening Families Protective Factors as a means to ensure children and families are served from a strength-based perspective.
The PHVC was made available in July 2015 with the plan that the framework be fully implemented in July 2016. Training opportunities will be available throughout the state over the next year.
Practice Spotlight: Impact of the Bringing the Protective Factors Framework to Life in Your Work Courses
The Bringing the Protective Factors Framework to Life in Your Work -- A Resource for Action series provides an in-depth discussion of protective factors and what can be done to create an environment where families can build these factors in their own lives. This training was developed by the National Alliance of Children’s Trust and Prevention Funds and is delivered through a partnership among the PA Strengthening Families Leadership Team, the PA Children’s Trust Fund and the PA Office of Child Development and Early Learning, and facilitated by the Center for Schools and Communities. To date 14 series of courses have been held along with 6 stand-alone events that reached 635 individuals. Participants have shared their satisfaction with the courses as well as their learning. Below are examples of what participants learned or how they intend to use the information they learned.
- “Understand that parents must determine their own needs - we cannot dictate them.”
- “Help us identify challenges/opportunities of culture/tradition as we provide support. Gives us additional information to share in terms of supports available.”
- “I will put more thought and intent into my planned activities that will support the 5 factors.”
- “Be intentional in providing developmentally and situationally appropriate information to parents.”
- “Encourage staff to praise and acknowledge positive parenting. Remind staff that parenting is part learned, part natural and to have adequate expectations.”
- “I will utilize the resilience blocks with families during crisis in order for them to see that they possess the skills needed to get through this one too.”
- “This fits in very nicely with what we already teach anyway. It was a nice affirmation that we are doing effective work.”
- “I will use what I have learned in my everyday work with families. Building rapport with all family members - be a good listener. Being supportive and offering resources when needed.”
For more information about the courses or to schedule a series click here.
Kinship Providers and Resource Parents Tip Sheet
“Taking in a child who needs you can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life – but it can also be stressful for you and the rest of your family. Whether you are a formal kinship care provider in the child welfare system, or you informally agree to care for the child of a family member, you play a vital role. Taking care of yourself is critically important, for your own well-being and for the well-being of the child you’re caring for and others in your household.”
“This tool is designed to help you:
- reflect on your experience as a kinship care provider
- identify your strengths and where you may need more support
- be aware of how traumatic experiences may affect the child in your care and how that might impact you as a caregiver
- respond to the child in a supportive way even when their behavior is challenging.”
The tip sheet accessed here provides information about the Protective Factors and reflection questions for Kinship Providers or Resource Parents to consider.
The Strengthening Families Leadership Team works to sustain and weave the Five Protective Factors, which are social and emotional competence of children, knowledge of parenting and child development, social connections, concrete support in times of need and parental resilience, into policies, program and practice across child and family service systems.
Relationships • Strong Families • Respect