Pathway Alignment for the Family Development Matrix Database


PROTECTIVE FACTOR: Children's Social and Emotional Development


Agency Actions:

  • Early detection of health and development concerns
  • High quality child care and school support of social and cognitive development
  • Opportunities for youth to engage in civic and community life

FDM Child Safety Category:

  • Child Care indicator
  • Supervision indicator
  • Risk of Emotional and Sexual Abuse indicator

Confirm safety of child. Family workers ensure that the child is safe in the family environment by assessing the specific characteristics, including but not limited to: child has stable, secure adult relationships; parents establish appropriate boundaries for children, children have regular, consistent routines that provide a sense of security and control to children that helps them with self confidence.

Work in partnership with Child Welfare. State and county child welfare agencies implement “differential response” protocols to connect families that do not meet abuse or neglect criteria to community resources. Although the immediate risk of abuse or neglect is low, these families can likely benefit from supports and services. Child welfare agencies partner with community groups in neighborhoods that have a high concentration of families involved with the child welfare system, to make their services more effective and acceptable and to build a "community presence."

Connect to childcare opportunities. Promote high-quality child care environments and culturally appropriate practices. Meet families work-related needs for care during nights, weekends, summers, and holidays.

FDM Children’s Physical and Mental Health Category:

  • Nutrition indicator
  • Appropriate Development indicator

Identify developmental concerns. Conduct age-appropriate developmental screenings, provide parents with age-appropriate information and guidance, and screen children and families for psychosocial strengths and needs.

Support children’s social and emotional competence. A child’s ability to interact positively with others and communicate his or her emotions effectively. Teach children to identify and share emotions appropriately, rather than acting out through bad behavior. Role model for parents to respond by using positive discipline techniques.

Support family to advocate for child in school. By establishing relationships with local school officials and staff, family support workers help parents have better access to schools to support their children. Services may include translation of school documents, supporting parents in meetings with teachers or other school personnel, and helping parents navigate registration and participate in other school events

PROTECTIVE FACTOR: Parental Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development


Agency Actions:

  • Support families to strengthen parenting capacity.
  • Social networks and services attuned to child development and connected to specialty care.
  • Supports and services help parents to meet basic needs and decrease stress.

FDM Parent/Child Relationship Category:

  • Nurturing
  • Parenting Skills

FDM Family Communication Category:

  • Family Communication Skills

Positive parenting education. Family-strengthening services, such as home visiting and parent education, provide emotional support and promote the skills necessary to effectively nurture and manage children’s behavior. Effective services combine formal facilitation and guidance by professionals with parent peer connections and on-going support. Service providers assist families to gain the ability to cope and bounce back from all types of challenges. When parents are resilient, they are able to respond to stressful situations in productive ways; they also feel supported and are able to solve problems.

Effectively involve fathers and other relatives in parenting. An involved parent feels responsible for and behaves responsibly toward his child. He/She is emotionally engaged, physically accessible and involved in childcare. He/She provides material supports to sustain the child’s needs and influences child rearing decisions.

Connect to parent support groups and education. Family support services connect parents with each other and with needed services and supports. Using a strengths-based approach, service providers help families identify assets and interests and set goals for improvement. In the context of this relationship, families can safely seek help with support groups and professional attention or treatment. Through their participation families also enhance strengths and increase confidence in their own ability to achieve goals, solve problems, and meet needs.

PROTECTIVE FACTOR: Concrete Support in Times of Need


Agency Actions:

  • Community-based services structured to respond to "screened out" families
  • Staff who encounter families are trained in screening and referrals
  • Adequate service capacity based on information systems that track family needs and progress

FDM Basic Needs Category:

  • Budgeting indicator
  • Clothing indicator
  • Employment indicator

FDM Shelter Category

  • Stability of Home or Shelter indicator
  • Home Environment indicator

Connect to financial supports for self-sufficiency. Community-based programs help low-income families obtain the financial supports they are entitled to and the opportunities they need to become self-sufficient. Families have financial security to cover day-to-day expenses and unexpected costs that come up from time to time, are able to access formal supports like TANF and Medicaid. Offer emergency assistance with food, clothing, and shelter, and provide access to healthcare, education, and job opportunities.

FDM Access to Services Category:

  • Health Services indicator
  • Community Resources Knowledge indicator
  • Child Health Insurance indicator
  • Transportation indicator

Provide health information. Connect families to people and agencies that can help them provide safe and stimulating environments for children. Assess living conditions of children, including homelessness, domestic violence and dangers posed by the home or neighborhood environment. Assist family to obtain child health insurance and connect to health professionals.

Provide transportation to access medical, counseling appointments as needed. Workers are able to help family members access services by providing transportation, particularly in rural areas or those where public agency services are not easily accessed by public transportation. Support might be in the form of bus passes, coordinating car pools or individual transportation.

Participate in multi-disciplinary teams to coordinate services. Family Support Workers collaborate through joint training and team consultation with participants from governmental, academic, and community-based settings. Establish strength-based, individualized, family-oriented solutions based on an understanding of family strengths, needs and circumstances. Action plans clearly delineate roles and responsibilities and establish mechanisms for on-going communication and coordination.

PROTECTIVE FACTORS: Parental Resilience


Agency Actions:

  • High quality, accessible family-centered treatment services for substance abuse and mental illness.
  • Coordinate among public systems that encounter families struggling with addiction, mental illness, and domestic violence.

FDM Substance Abuse Category

  • Presence of Abuse indicator

FDM Life Value Category

  • Emotional Wellbeing/Sense of Life Value indicator

Connect to weekly group meetings for parents and children. A family or its members are connected to therapy, outpatient and/or residential treatment services for substance abuse and mental illness. Counseling and supportive services improve family and child heath and well-being.

Provide linkages to remove barriers to mental health and substance abuse services. Service providers reach family members with resources, including direct access to supportive services. Services should validate participants’ feelings, emphasize accomplishment based self-esteem, and offer intensive parenting and prevention education, as well as support for new parents. Systems and institutions that encounter families, including those that deal with public health, mental health, homelessness, domestic violence, law enforcement, and judicial review, coordinate care over time. They address the withdrawal effects for parents who stop using alcohol or other drugs and may experience intense emotions that can increase the chance of child abuse or neglect.

PROTECTIVE FACTOR: Social Connections


Agency Actions:

  • Sustainable networks of services and supports contribute to child protection
  • Systems of care stay connected to families over time and assist with challenges as needed
  • Neighborhoods are safe, stable, and supportive
  • Services and supports target populations in communities with concentrated risk factors
  • Promising community-based organizations achieve geographic saturation with interventions and supports to respond to a wide range of needs

FDM Social Emotional Health Category:

  • Support Systems indicator

Connect to informal community supports. Social connections make neighborhoods more stable by engaging residents. Community policing and neighborhood-building activities promote neighborhood safety. Parents connect to friends, family members, neighbors, and other members of the community who provide emotional support and concrete resources. Because social isolation is so strongly connected to child maltreatment, it is important for parents to have a network of people with whom they can vent their frustrations, and have conversations about the joys of parenting.

Work with families to identify system gaps. As a result of the case management process, families and workers exchange information regarding the effectiveness of existing services and where services don’t exist. This intervention serves two purposes: it supports families in problem solving and advocating for themselves as well as informing both public and private agencies about the efficacy of existing services.