Center for Family Strengthening is dedicated to strengthening families through education and advocacy. The center partners with family support organizations in San Luis Obispo County to provide resources to families in need, protect children from abuse and neglect, and ensure that strong families are a community priority.

Helping families thrive.
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Center for Family Strengthening (CFS),a private non-profit 501(c)(3), receives 70% of its annual budget from individual donors, private grants, private foundations, corporations, and other community organizations with the remaining 30% coming from government contracts  to provide critical family services to thousands in our community each year.   

 

What is the mission of Center for Family Strengthening?

In 1988 the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors designated Center for Family Strengthening formerly known as SLO/CAP as the self-governing entity responsible for local efforts to prevent and respond to child abuse and neglect. Center for Family Strengthening is dedicated to strengthening families through education and advocacy. Center for Family Strengthening partners with family support organizations in SLO County to provide resources to families in need, protect children from abuse and neglect, and ensure that strong families are a community priority.

Why did SLO-CAP changed its name?

San Luis Obispo Child Abuse Prevention council changed its name to reflect its core programs and competencies for the prevention of child abuse. Child abuse is preventable by strengthening families and fostering healthy development of children. The new name reflects this family strengthening approach for the prevention of child abuse.

How does the does the Center for Family Strengthening prevent abuse through its programs.

The Center for Family Strengthening partners closely with Family Resource Center agencies as they connect to families in the community. The agencies are trained to recognize the absence of any one of the Five Protective Factors in a family, which may cause significant stress and trigger potential abuse. The Center has established educational programs and services that strengthen the family and address these protective factors in an effort to get the family back on track and prevent abuses.

What are the Five Protective Factors and why are they important?

The Five Protective Factors are:
Parental resilience—Being a parent can be a very rewarding and joyful experience. But being a parent can also have its share of stress. Parenting stress is caused by the pressures (stressors) that are placed on parents personally and in relation to their child. How parents respond to stressors is much more important than the stressor itself in determining the outcome for themselves and their children. Parents are more likely to achieve healthy, favorable outcomes if they are resilient. Resilience is the process of managing stress and functioning well even when faced with challenges, adversity and trauma. By managing stressors, parents feel better and can provide more nurturing attention to their child, which enables their child to form a secure emotional attachment. Receiving nurturing attention and developing a secure emotional attachment with parents, in turn, fosters the development of resilience in children when they experience stress.

Social connections—People need people. Constructive and supportive social connections help buffer parents from stressors and support nurturing parenting behaviors that promote secure attachments in young children. When parents have a sense of connectedness they believe they have people who care about them as individuals and as parents; they feel secure and confident that they have others with whom they can share the joy, pain and uncertainties that come with the parenting role. Parents’ high quality social connections are beneficial to both the adults and the children.

Knowledge of parenting and child development—No parent knows everything about children or is a “perfect parent.” What parents do and how they treat children is often a reflection of the way they were parented. Acquiring new knowledge and parenting and child development enables parents to critically evaluate the impact of their experiences on their own development and their current parenting practices, and to consider that there may be more effective ways of guiding and responding to their children. Understanding the importance of early brain development enables both parents to know what young children need most in order to thrive: nurturing; responsive, reliable, and trusting relationships; regular, predictable and consistent routines; interactive language experiences; a physically and emotionally safe environment; and opportunities to explore and to learn by doing.

Social-Emotional Competence of Children—Early childhood is a period of both great opportunity and vulnerability. Early childhood experiences set the stage for later health, well-being and learning. There is a strong link between young children’s social-emotional competence and their cognitive development, language skills, mental health and school success. Dimensions of social-emotional competence do not happen naturally. Social-emotional competence includes self-esteem, self-confidence, self-efficacy, self-regulation, personal agency, executive functioning, patience, persistence, conflict resolution, empathy, morality, communication skills, and social skills The course of social-emotional development—whether healthy or unhealthy—depends on the quality of nurturing attachment and stimulation that a child experiences. A relationship with a consistent, caring and attuned adult who actively promotes the development of these dimensions is essential for healthy social-emotional outcomes in young children.

Concrete Support in Times of Need—All parents need help sometimes. When parents are faced with overwhelmingly stressful conditions they need to seek help, but for some parents asking for help is not an easy thing to do. Assisting parents to identify, find and receive concrete support in times of need helps to ensure they and their family receive the basic necessities everyone deserves in order to grow (e.g., healthy food, a safe environment)as well as specialized medical, mental health, social, educational or legal services. When parents seek help, it should be provided in a manner that does not increase stress. Services should be coordinated, respectful, caring and strengths-based. A strengths-based approach helps parents feel valued because they are acknowledged as knowledgeable and competent. They develop a sense of self-confidence and self-efficacy because they have opportunities to build their skills, experience success and provide help to others. Thus, access to concrete support in times of need must be accompanied by a quality of service coordination and delivery that is designed to preserve parents’ dignity.

What Programs do you offer and how much do they cost?

Through Parent Connection, we offer parenting skills classes and coaching skills, and postpartum depression support services. Through Kidz Toolbox for Personal Safety, we teach child protective and safety skills. Our Beginnings program offers prenatal substance use awareness. We’re educating the community on child abuse reporting laws. Promotores Collaborative is a volunteer team of Spanish-speaking members who connect to families in need. We work with Public Health Programs to make Dental Care for Kids accessible to the thousands of children in this County who do not qualify for MediCal. We partner with county-wide Family Resource Centers to provide families with high quality services and opportunities to thrive. Our programs are free and we have a strong network of services to refer you to help meet your needs.

How effective are these programs in preventing Child Abuse?

Proving the effectiveness of our work is a priority. We have identified performance measures as well as strategies that work, and we are developing qualitative as well as quantitative data for effectiveness for each of our programs. Many of our programs are evidence based, which means we rely on practices that have been proven to work.

We have decreased child abuse in San Luis Obispo County by 12 percent through the achievement of the following programs:

Parent Connection parenting skills classes and coaching services–Parent Connection has helped over 3,500 parents improve their skills

  • Postpartum Depression Support Services–We have provided emotional support and treatment for over 500 pregnant and postpartum women.
  • Kidz Toolbox for Personal Safety – Each year, we teach over 4,500 children protective and safety skills, including the difference between safe and unsafe touching.
  • Beginnings – Prenatal Substance Use Awareness We’ve reached over 7,000 students and community members with our outreach program about the impact of prenatal substance use on the developing child.
  • Mandated reporter of suspected child abuse training educates the community on child abuse reporting laws.
  • Promotores Collaborative – building healthy communities–Through a team of Spanish-speaking community members, we offer health care language translation services.
  • Dental Care For Kids – The Center for Family Strengthening works with Public Health Programs to make dental care accessible to the thousands of children in the county who do not qualify for MediCal coverage.
  • Nurse Family Partnership of San Luis Obispo County– We’re the Advisory Community Board for Nurse Family Partnership of San Luis Obispo County, which helps at-risk, first-time mothers have healthy pregnancies, and become more economically self-sufficient.
  • Partnership for Excellence in Family Support is the county-wide network of Family Resource Centers committed to providing families with high quality services and opportunities to thrive.

Where does the money come from to support these programs?

Center for Family Strengthening (CFS),a private non-profit 501(c)(3), receives 70% of its annual budget from individual donors, private grants, private foundations, corporations, and other community organizations with the remaining 30% coming from government contracts  to provide critical family services to thousands in our community each year.   

How do I donate to a program?

Your donations can be designated to a particular program or donated as an unrestricted gift. To learn more about Center for Family Strengthening go to www.cfsslo.org or call 805 543-6216

How do I contact you for support services.

To learn more about Center for Family Strengthening go to www.cfsslo.org or call 805 543-6216

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