January 26, 2013

A science behind the fun

Family-resource centers 'strengthen protective factors'

PLATTSBURGH — There is a scientific foundation to programming — however fun — at the North Country’s family-resource centers.

These facilities include Family Connections Resource Center in Plattsburgh, Families R Us in Malone, Family Matters in Tupper Lake and Families First in Essex.

“The whole point of these services we offer at our network of family-resource centers is to build and strengthen families’ protective factors,” said Jamie Basiliere, executive director of the Childcare Coordinating Council of the North Country.

“We really believe by building and strengthening protective factors, we are supporting families and preventing child abuse.”

Five protective factors were developed by a national resource center called Family Resource Information Education and Network Development Services (FRIENDS), which provides training and technical assistance to states.

“The state gives us the money to run the actual programs. (FRIENDS) is essentially our funder,” Basiliere said. “We adopted their protective factors as the platform on which we build the services that we offer families. There’s a survey, a questionnaire, we offer to families when they register, and three and six months out. We’re trying to measure the growth or strength of families’ protective factors. We’re trying to be more scientific in how we measure the success of our programs and services we offer to families.”


The five protective factors are:

▶ Parental resilience.

“That’s courage to have the ability to manage and bounce back from challenges that emerge in everyday life,” Basiliere said.

▶ Social connections.

“We help families build a network of support such as friends to help them understand that they’re not alone. They share many commonalities with other parents. Our goal there is to build friendships,” Basiliere said.

▶ Concrete support in times of need.

“This is all about meeting basic needs of families — food, clothing, shelter, health, medical as well as mental health,” Basiliere said. “The goal here is to help connect families to these concrete supports that are offered throughout our communities.”

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