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Final Report from the ACYF Protective Factors Project now available

January 23, 2014

Dear Colleagues -

We are pleased to share the final report and materials from a recently completed study to explore the literature on protective factors focusing on five population groups of primary concern:    

Ø  Infants, children, and adolescents who are victims of child abuse and neglect;

Ø  Runaway and homeless youth;

Ø  Youth in or transitioning out of foster care;

Ø  Children and youth exposed to domestic violence; and

Ø  Pregnant and parenting teens.

This analysis offers new insight into how such in-risk populations modify risk or buffer the effects of adverse experiences. Comparatively few studies of protective factors have been conducted with samples of in-risk children and youth where the issue is not prevention of a problem but coping with or transitioning through one or more existing problem situations.

The review was guided by the following questions:

Ø  What is the nature of protective factors for children and youth served by ACYF-funded strategies?

Ø  What is the strength of evidence pertaining to protective factors?

Ø  Which protective factors are most likely to be amenable to change in the context of programs and policies offered by ACYF?

The project, conducted by Development Services Group, Inc. from FY2011-2013, involved conducting a systematic literature review to identify protective factors across five ACYF populations, and developing a protective factors conceptual model and tools that can be useful to the field.  Building on the literature review and input from experts and practitioners, development of the conceptual model included the preparation of: a) crosswalksidentifying and synthesizing the protective factors identified for ACYF populations, the populations and developmental stages for which they are most relevant, and evidence to support their inclusion and b) models that depict the relationships between the identified factors and positive outcomes. 

The executive summary, literature review, appendices, and accompanying research brief are available at:

Results from this study have been incorporated into the 2014 Prevention Resource Guide and a forthcoming Child Welfare Information Gateway Bulletin, “Protective Factors Approaches in Child Welfare.” More resources about promoting protective factors are also available at:

If you have questions on this work, please feel free to contact Melissa Brodowski at melissa.brodowski@acf.hhs.govor Lauren Fischman at

Melissa Lim Brodowski, PhD, MSW, MPH

Senior Child Welfare Program Specialist
Office on Child Abuse and Neglect
Children's Bureau, ACYF, ACF, USDHHS
1250 Maryland Ave, SW
8th Floor #8111
Washington, DC 20024
Phone:  202-205-2629
Fax:  202-260-9345





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