A hallmark of PSF’s system of care is our belief that child abuse is preventable. We have found that by providing resources and supports to families in need on the front end, many can avoid reaching the crises that lead to formal child welfare involvement. Not only is this best for the children, it is a more cost-effective use of resources. Thanks to Florida being awarded a Title IV-E waiver from the federal government, we are now able to utilize funds formerly available only after a child was removed from the home to provide safety and strengthening services up-front. This has been a dramatic shift in our allocation of resources and one that has proved impactful. In the area surrounding PSF’s first resource center, the Library Partnership, the number of children removed from the home as a result of abuse and neglect has dropped by 76%, compared to 46% in PSF’s other coverage areas. Since opening the first center, PSF has collaborated on two additional centers, also strategically located in hot-spot areas that have had historically high incidences of abuse and low accessibility to resources.
Each of the resource centers PSF operates are a partnership endeavor with larger entities such as the county library district, county government or grassroots community groups, as well as more than 40 agencies who partner with the center to provide services at no cost to families. Every service offered is tied to one of the five Protective Factors, which when present in families are shown to reduce the likelihood of abuse or neglect. Each center evolves to meet the specific needs of the community it is located within and strives to involve community members in guiding decisions.
The Five Protective Factors:
- Concrete Supports in Times of Need
- Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development
- Nurturing and Attachment
- Social Connections
- Family Functioning and Resiliency