Understanding Risk and Protective Factors for Youth

Posted February 12, 2014
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Blog understandingriskandprotectivefactors 2013

Risk and pro­tec­tive fac­tors are the under­ly­ing char­ac­ter­is­tics of a child and the child’s envi­ron­ment, which influ­ence whether the child achieves crit­i­cal devel­op­men­tal out­comes. Risk fac­tors are known to increase the like­li­hood of neg­a­tive out­comes for chil­dren, while pro­tec­tive fac­tors exert a pos­i­tive influ­ence and shield chil­dren from risks.

Devel­oped as part of Casey’s efforts to help com­mu­ni­ties imple­ment proven pro­grams, the Evidence2Success sur­veys exam­ine the risk and pro­tec­tive fac­tors of chil­dren in a com­mu­ni­ty. The sur­vey results empow­er cities and com­mu­ni­ties to address seri­ous chal­lenges through well-suit­ed and proven interventions.

Both risk and pro­tec­tive mea­sures are com­prised by sit­u­a­tions with­in fam­i­ly, com­mu­ni­ty, school and peer con­texts. For exam­ple, if you want­ed to deter­mine if fam­i­ly con­flict rep­re­sents a poten­tial risk for a child, you might ask whether a fam­i­ly argues about the same things repeat­ed­ly, which would indi­cate that the fam­i­ly is unable to resolve con­flict effectively.

Learn more about what risk and pro­tec­tive fac­tors evi­dence-based pro­grams should measure

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