FIRC uses the Strengthening Families approach to optimize child development and help families gain stability. By recognizing and appreciating families’ strengths, we are able to give the support they need to become even stronger. Through our variety of programs, FIRC works to approach families as a whole by looking at their entire situation, so they develop healthy habits, stronger parenting strategies and work towards achieving goals. Ultimately, help families become sustainable and resilient so they are better equipped to manage stress and thrive during the good times.
Strengthening Families Approach
Program Strategies to approach families as a whole
- Respond to family crisis – Noticing family stress, listening, making referrals and providing access to needed resources, including financial help, housing, support, mental health or substance abuse services, health care, and more, through formal and informal supports.
- Strengthening Parenting – Providing guidance, role modeling and information on parenting and child development, including special support around children and teens’ challenging behaviors.
- Link families to Services and Opportunities – Making and following through on referrals, maintaining relationships with service providers and sharing community information with families.
- Facilitate Friendships and Mutual Support– Helping parents to connect with each other and develop social networks. When parents know they aren’t the only ones struggling with child behaviors or development, they are less likely to take it out on the child.
- Facilitating children’s social and emotional development – Providing a nurturing and caring environment, using a structured curriculum for social and emotional development, teaching parents to support that development.
- Observing and responding to early warning signs of child abuse and neglect – Constant monitoring of child health and family stress
- Valuing and Supporting Parents – Making all family members feel welcome, involving parents and caregivers in decision-making at all levels, and providing many opportunities for participation.
Protective Factors resulting from effective programs
A protective factor is a characteristic that makes a parent, child or family more likely to thrive and less likely to experience a negative outcome.
- Parental Resilience – Financial, work, family or relationship stress can have a significant effect on all parents, which is why FIRC works to provide people with strategies to prevent children from becoming the victims of abuse or neglect. Unexpected financial emergencies or deteriorating relationships can happen to anyone, and when parents are faced with trauma or crisis, it can be very difficult to focus on effectively raising a child. FIRC can help families address issues and give them techniques to avoid taking their frustrations out on the child. Staff works to remind parents of their strengths so they can find solutions to their problems and get back on track.
- Social Connections – Summit County can be a difficult place for parents raising a child. Studies show that feeling isolated and alone are major issues for our local parents since many have moved to this area and lack the typical extended family’s support. Plus, living in a resort towns means many empty second homes and the feeling of a true neighborhood. FIRC provides a variety of group activities that encourage to meet and form friendships.
- Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development – FIRC works to provide parents with the support and education needed to help them be the first and most important teacher in their child’s life. FIRC’s Parent Educators work with parents to prepare their child to enter elementary school, achieve developmental milestones and address challenges. FIRC also advocates and provides classes promoting parent engagement throughout a child’s entire educational career.
- Concrete Support in times of Need – FIRC’s Community Support Team works to provide families with assistance during times of crisis. Studies show that when concrete support is available to get through a crisis, the ability to thrive from that event is much higher.
- Social and Emotional Competence of Children -In all programs, staff work with parents to help them realize the impact they have in their child’s life. By engaging with their child, parents can help them develop social and emotional skills that will impact them for a lifetime.
Impact of Strengthening Families Approach
- strong families
- optimal child development
- reduced child abuse and neglect
Building on strengths is the core foundation of all FIRC programs. Staff start with the understanding that all families have strengths and all families need support. Staff members work with families to recognize their achievements and traits that help them thrive during tough times. Once parents realize their strengths, they can build upon them and set goals towards utilizing new parenting techniques, achieving stable financial stability and more.