skip to Main Content

Protective Factors for Abuse and Neglect

Tennyson programs strengthen families by replacing risk factors with protective factors. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the following factors decrease the likelihood of child abuse or neglect in a household. Although we never underestimate the challenges, we believe that positive experiences can have a transformative impact on children and adults.

Support systems

Families who are isolated experience higher rates of abuse.

Access to Concrete Needs

Unreliable access to food, housing, warmth, and other basic needs increases the likelihood of abuse and neglect in a household.

Caregivers who understand children's needs, emotions, and development

Caregivers who are interested and informed about child development are more resilient to the stresses around parenting.

Early support for families with children under the age of two

According to the Children’s Bureau, infants under the age of two experience the highest rates of maltreatment. 28.6% of all victims are less than two years old.

Positive Communication Styles

The ability to discuss things that matter in healthy, productive ways leads to greater outcomes.

Resources for children with special needs

Children with physical and intellectual disabilities or mental/behavioral challenges experience higher rates of abuse.

Support for young parents, single parents, or parents with many children

These parents are more vulnerable to the stresses of parenting and have more hurtles participating in parenting activities.

Parents whose own early relationships were nurturing, predictable, and safe

Parents often draw upon experiences from their own childhood. Caregivers who were abused as children are associated with higher rates of maltreatment.

Access to addiction recovery

With the rise of the opioid crisis, more children are entering the child welfare system as a result of caregivers with substance misuse disorders.

Prevention in Practice

  • Families Together expands support systems and provides concrete needs by pairing families who feel isolated with volunteer “neighbors.” Neighbors provide meals, assemble care packages, celebrate the good times, and offer solidarity during the tough times.
  • Tennyson’s child and family therapists help kids and their caregivers address mental health issues and past traumas. This can take the form of individual, group, or family therapy.
  • Child First provides special, in-home support for families with young children (prenatal to five-years-old). Specifically, clinicians help the most challenged families build strong, loving attachments to protect developing brains from trauma and stress.
  • Care coordinators connect families to community-based services to tackle specific risks like substance misuse.
  • BRANCH provides specialized support for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (such as autism spectrum disorder) and additional mental health needs.
  •  Experienced clinicians coach parents to understand the underlying needs driving a child’s behavioral issues.
  • Connect Parent provides evidence-based parenting tools for caregivers with teens and builds community through group sessions.

Family Stories

Maia’s family was overloaded with stressors. Her dad was raising three young kids by himself while earning his GED. The pressures he felt from poverty and depression frequently surfaced as aggression. Maia’s teachers noticed she was getting sick more often, her memory was limited, and some days she could not sit still. It turned out she was living in a constant state of fight-or-flight. She was being flooded with adrenaline and other hormones which could cause serious damage.

Thanks to your support, Maia’s entire family received therapy to heal and reset their relationships. They were also connected with another single father who stepped in with meals, rides, and much-needed bonding.

Penelope is a single mom to six kiddos. With so many children under one roof, the bickering can get overwhelming, but deep down her kids all really love and support one another. Right now, her biggest struggle is working so many hours and being away from home. Her older children often must handle the childcare and housework, and she feels like that is too much responsibility for a growing child.

Penelope is hoping a volunteer neighbor through Tennyson’s “Families Together” program can help free up some time in the evenings she she can spend quality time with her kids. As simple as it sounds, even having someone cook dinner would give her previous bonding time with her kids.

Make a Difference

We all have a role to play in preventing, identifying, and responding to child abuse and neglect.

Become a Donor

Programs at Tennyson directly strengthen kids and families, but we can’t do this important work without your financial support. Make a one-time or monthly donation to help provide access to experienced therapists, teachers, care coordinators, parenting tools, school and therapy supplies, and much more!



Become a volunteer “neighbor” for the Families Together program! After the last two years, we all know what it’s like to feel isolated. Neighbors deliver meals, groceries, or care packages and build a friendship with one family for six months. Tennyson will match you with a family looking for a broader support system.

Learn More


Your words have the power to save lives. Learn how to spot the signs of abuse and neglect, and call 844-CO-4-Kids if you are concerned for the well-being of a child or youth. Talk about Tennyson Center for Children with your friends, and sign up for our newsletter to stay informed about our work in the community.

Find More Information & Resources
Back To Top