Community Engagement

Strengthening Families Washington

The Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) would like to work with local communities to build access to high quality parent support that strengthens families for prevention of child abuse and neglect utilizing the Strengthening Families Protective Factors Framework for children and families. Strengthening Families Washington (SFWA) requests Letters of Interest (LOI) from Washington State organizations providing group-based parenting and education programs. Interested organizations should submit LOI electronically to no later than Friday, April 5, 2019 by 5:00 p.m. Please find:

Strengthening Families Washington is a program within the Department of Children, Youth, and Families whose main focus is helping families become stronger together through a variety of tactics, including:

  • home visiting
  • community outreach and partnerships
  • funding opportunities with local organizations

In addition, we assist with several public awareness campaigns including, Speak Up When You’re Down and Have A Plan: Shaken Baby Syndrome and Safe Sleep.

There are five protective factors known to help reduce child abuse and neglect:

  • Knowledge of parenting and child development
  • Social connections
  • Parental resiliency
  • Concrete support in times of need
  • Social and emotional competence of children

By providing information to parents, child care professionals and others who work with children, we help build these protective factors in families with young children and build family strength and a family environment that promotes optimal child and youth development.

Ways to Promote the Protective Factors
  • Help parents set goals and solve problems (parental resilience).
  • Find a local parenting class or workshop (knowledge of parenting and of child/youth development).
  • Host a potluck or cultural celebration (social connections).
  • Call 2-1-1 to find organizations in your area that support families (concrete supports).
  • Establish a daily routine so your child knows what to expect (social and emotional development).

Community Cafes are another way we support promoting the protective factors. Community Cafes are guided conversations hosted by parent leaders who use the World Café technique to increase community wisdom, build parent voice and facilitate action to improve lives for children. It is a process that is designed, planned and implemented by parents, working with their community partners.

Nationally, Strengthening Families is coordinated by the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) and supported by national partner organizations including:

We believe in partnering with parents and caregivers and encourage leadership and collaboration in all our work. If you are interested in opportunities or would like to partner with Strengthening Families Washington, please email

Community Work

Strengthening Families works with local communities statewide to increase community capacity to institute and expand the Strengthening Families Protective Factors Framework © for all families.

DCYF is requesting applications from communities planning child abuse and prevention events. Please apply by December 31, 2018:

Each April, people across the country join together during National Child Abuse Prevention Month to raise awareness and promote ways we can strengthen families in our communities. Strengthening Families Washington is the state chapter of Prevent Child Abuse America, the nation’s leading organization working solely to prevent the abuse and neglect of our nation’s children. The pinwheel symbolizes the safe and happy childhood we want for all children. During the month of April we plant pinwheels at the capital campus in Olympia, and sell and distribute pinwheels to be displayed across the state. Proceeds go to the Children's Trust. If you are interested in participating or planning for next year, email

February is Parent Recognition month and each year we celebrate by honoring individuals around the state with an Unsung Hero Award.

Since 2011 we have honored 224 men and women in Washington for the roles they have taken with their families, school and communities. They have shown strength, courage and empathy in their communities and beyond.

The Community Café approach sparks leadership to develop relationships necessary to strengthen families. The newest research is saying there are five critical protective factors a child needs to thrive. Strengthening families, to those using this approach, means working together to build these five protective factors.

This is a chapter of the national organization Prevent Child Abuse America. Together we work to shift existing national policy and support children and families to prevent abuse and neglect from ever occurring. Strengthening Families Washington administers the Children’s Trust Fund of Washington, which accepts public and private donations to support child abuse and neglect prevention. There are several ways to contribute:

  • The Children’s Trust of Washington is housed within the Department of Children, Youth, and Families, and administered by Strengthening Families Washington. Strengthening Families Washington focuses on helping families strengthen family bonds, understand childhood development, and cope with the challenge of parenting. By reaching out to parents and encircling them with support we can help strengthen families, which protects children and builds strong communities overall. Preventing child abuse and neglect is an important way to promote healthy child and family development. If you would like to donate, please send contribution to: 
    • Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families Children’s Trust Fund of Washington P.O. Box 40971 Olympia, WA 98504-0971
  • When you purchase a Keep Kids Safe license plate, you help keep children of all ages healthy and safe. Proceeds from each plate are invested into communities throughout Washington to support programs and services that help protect children and strengthen families. Learn how to purchase a Keep Kids Safe plate at the Department of Licensing website.
  • Celebrate a new life with the official Washington State Heirloom Birth Certificate. A lasting memory of a baby's birth, a reminder of a cherished grandchild, the Heirloom Birth Certificate is the perfect gift for baby showers, birthdays, graduations, anniversaries—even retirements! The attractive, frameable, 8 1/2" x 11" certificate is an official document. It includes the individual's name, date and place of birth, as well as the name and birthplace of the parent(s). It is signed by the Governor, and printed in full color. The Heirloom Birth Certificate is a beautiful, permanent keepsake for anyone born or adopted in the state of Washington. Purchasing an Heirloom Birth Certificate helps protect children. More than half of the certificate's $40 purchase price benefits the Children's Trust Fund of Washington. To order an Heirloom Birth Certificate:
    • Contact the Department of Health Center for Health Statistics at 360.236.4300 or visit their website.
  • Donate through the Combined Fund Drive: Washington state active and retired public employees can donate to the Children's Trust Fund of Washington through the Combined Fund Drive (CFD). Search for Children's Trust Fund of Washington on the CFD's charity search page.