In 2015, thanks to support from Strong Families AZ, Arizona had its first Strengthening FamiliesTM Protective Factors Framework training of trainers, certifying 20 people to offer presentations on Protective Factors. Since then, with support from the DCS Office of Prevention, Arizona has grown its trainer base to 96 trainers! Our state has also certified 24 people in Youth Thrive, a parallel framework that focuses on building strengths in youth, and an addition 207 practitioners of Flourishing Families, a curriculum designed for family serving professionals to support families to build protective factors.

On November 7, trainers of all three approaches gathered for a Protective Factors Summit, supported by funding from the DCS Office of Prevention. The Summit brought together 52 trainers from 14 of Arizona’s 15 counties.

The summit began with a presentation from Cailin O’Connor of the Center for the Study of Social Policy, the organization that created the Strengthening FamiliesTM Protective Factors approach. Cailin reviewed the history of the protective factors and how the framework has evolved to explicitly address racism and bias. Renowned Arizona speaker Iya Affo followed Cailin’s presentation with an inspiring, thought-provoking, and reflective conversation about weaving cultural humility into our work building protective factors.

Through rich table discussions in the afternoon, attendees brainstormed about how to build each protective factor in Arizona through every day actions, professional initiatives, and policy.

Attendees mentioned that the summit provided “a renewed passion for the work and advocating for the needs of families,” an “expansion of ideas on how to lead discussions on racism and bias,” and motivation to be “more open to helping others in different ways sharing protective factors with everyone I know.”

The summit was funded by the Arizona Department of Child Safety’s Office of Prevention.