These specific factors help parents find resources, supports, or coping strategies that allow them to parent effectively, even under stress.

Managing stress and functioning well when faced with challenges, adversity and trauma.

Parents who can cope with the stresses of everyday life, as well an occasional crisis, have resilience. They have the flexibility and inner strength necessary to bounce back when things are not going well. Multiple life stressors, such as a family history of abuse and/or neglect, health problems, marital conflict, or domestic or community violence—and financial stressors such as unemployment, poverty, and homelessness—may reduce a parent's capacity to cope effectively with the typical day-to-day stresses of raising children.

Learn more from the Center for the Study of Social Policy's Strengthening Protective Factors Framework

Positive relationships that provide emotional, informational, instrumental, and spiritual support.

Parents with a social network of emotionally supportive friends, family, and neighbors often find that it is easier to care for their children and themselves. Most parents need people they can call on once in a while when they need a sympathetic listener, advice, or concrete support. Research has shown that parents who are isolated, with few social connections, are at higher risk for child abuse and/or neglect.

Learn more from the Center for the Study of Social Policy's Strengthening Protective Factors Framework

Access to concrete support and services that address a family’s needs and help minimize stress caused by challenges.

Many factors affect a family's ability to care for their children. Families who can meet their own basic needs for food, clothing, housing, and transportation—and who know how to access essential services such as childcare, health care, and mental health services to address family-specific needs—are better able to ensure the safety and well-being of their children.  Partnering with parents to identify and access resources in the community may help prevent the stress that sometimes precipitates child abuse and/or neglect. Providing concrete supports may also help prevent the unintended neglect that sometimes occurs when parents are unable to provide for their children.

Learn more from the Center for the Study of Social Policy's Strengthening Protective Factors Framework

Understanding child development and parenting strategies that support physical, cognitive, language, and social and emotional development.

There is extensive research linking healthy child development to effective parenting. Children thrive when parents provide not only affection, but also respectful communication and listening, consistent rules and expectations, and safe opportunities that promote independence. Successful parenting fosters psychological adjustment, helps children succeed in school, encourages curiosity about the world, and motivates children to achieve.

Learn more from the Center for the Study of Social Policy's Strengthening Protective Factors Framework

Family and child interactions that help children develop the ability to communicate clearly, recognize and regulate their emotions, and establish and maintain relationships.

Parents support healthy social and emotional development in children when they model how to express and communicate emotions effectively, self-regulate, and make friends. A child's social and emotional competence is crucial to sound relationships with family, adults, and peers. Conversely, delayed social-emotional development may obstruct healthy relationships. Early identification of such delays and early assistance for children and parents can provide support for family relationships and sustain positive and appropriate development.

Learn more from the Center for the Study of Social Policy's Strengthening Protective Factors Framework

Child Maltreatment Prevention In Action

Child abuse prevention is all around you. Below are just a few examples of great statewide programs and resources and community initiatives that prevent child maltreatment and promote child well-being.

Fifteen Colorado communities have been awarded funding and technical assistance to engage in an eight-month local participatory planning process using the Colorado Child Maltreatment Prevention Framework for Action. The framework is designed as a tool to guide strategic thinking, align strategies, and maximize shared outcomes to prevent child maltreatment and promote child well-being at the state and local level. This initiative is generously supported by the Colorado Department of Human Services and the ZOMA Foundation. 

Learn more >>

SafeCare® Colorado is a free, voluntary parent support program for parents and caregivers with children ages five and under who need extra support to keep their families safe and healthy. Parent support providers help you build on your existing skills in the areas of parent-child interactions, home safety and child health. SafeCare® typically takes 18-20 weekly sessions to complete (about 4-6 months) and each session lasts 1 to 1.5 hours. SafeCare® Colorado is delivered in the home or another convenient location by trained parent support providers.

Find a SafeCare Colorado program near you>>

Parents as Teachers is an evidence-based parent education and support program designed to empower parents as their child’s first teacher. The program utilizes a home visitation model, working with families from pregnancy until their child enters kindergarten.

Find a Parents as Teachers near you>>

Family resource centers provide a safe, accessible place for families to connect with comprehensive, coordinated services that help them strengthen their families and become more self-reliant. Programs at each center are tailored to the culture, resources and needs of the community they serve, and focus on building on the strengths of each family and individual.

Find a Family Resource Center near you>>

The Essentials for Childhood project, lead by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment,  promotes safe, stable and nurturing relationships and environments for all children, families and communities. These relationships and environments are essential for healthy child development and lifelong health.  

Learn more about the Essentials for Childhood project>>


Babies observe, learn, and grow every time they interact with others. Their brains have more potential for development now than at any other time in their lives. Caregivers can nurture that development by connecting with their child in little ways, every day. By building your relationship with your child, you are building their brain’s foundation. There are thousands of ways we can connect with babies every day. Whether it’s taking turns cooing, playing peek-a-boo or touching her toes, every interaction makes a difference.

Learn more from Children's Hospital Colorado>>

Stewards of Children, a program by Darkness to Light, is the only nationally available program scientifically proven to increase knowledge, improve attitudes and change child-protective behaviors. This revolutionary program is for any responsible adult who cares about the welfare of children and particularly appropriate for training staff and volunteers of youth-serving organizations (sports leagues, day care centers, after school programs, children’s clubs, church groups and more).-- 

Get trained in Colorado through Illuminate Colorado>>

The early years of a child’s life — from birth to age eight — are critically important for learning and development.

The Colorado Early Learning and Development Guidelines provide practical tips and points of reference that anyone can use to help kids grow.

Whether we’re experts, early childhood teachers, first-time parents, or involved friends and neighbors, we all play a role in giving kids a strong, healthy start.

Learn more at

If not you, then who?
Colorado Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline
Available 24 hours a day, every day. Don't hesitate to call and get help. 
Anyone witnessing a child in a life-threatening situation should call 911 immediately.