Families Thrive

Photo by Chloe Hotaling

Photo by Chloe Hotaling

families Thrive™ is a four-day intensive training for adults in all settings who work with parents and their children. families thrive addresses the entire life cycle of families, from their children's infancy through young adulthood.

Groups are usually mixed, and include professionals from many different public and private youth-serving organizations. Sometimes, however, TRAININGS are customized for staff from a single  organization.

The new Families First Prevention Services Act, signed into law last year, seeks to keep children out of foster care by substantially redirecting federal funds toward family-based prevention programming , including programming aimed at building parenting skills and preventing mental illness and substance abuse. Families First funding begins in October 2019.

Get ready now by making sure your staff is fully trained in Families Thrive™, a new training that integrates the Center for the Study of Social Policy’s Youth Thrive and Strengthening Families trainings. Families Thrive is based on the nationally recognized protective/promotive factors framework that is at the heart of those two trainings, but extends the framework from early childhood through adolescence, teaching professionals how to work with families across the lifespan in ways that increase engagement and the likelihood of healthy developmental outcomes.

The training devotes one session to each of the protective and promotive factors – knowledge of child development, social connections, cognitive & social/emotional competence, concrete supports in times of need, and resilience – and teaches practical techniques for applying the framework in programs, practices, and communities. The protective/promotive factor framework can be applied to any evidence-based program, across disciplines and program types, to increase family strengths, enhance child development, and reduce the likelihood of child abuse and neglect.

See a two-page review of the evidence supporting the promotive/protective factors framework and showing how that evidence aligns with the Administration on Children, Youth & Families’ own research.

families thrive background

Families Thrive is a generation 2.0 training that merges Youth Thrive with Strengthening Families, a model that many state child welfare systems use to support parents and their children. Both Youth Thrive and Strengthening Families were originally developed by the Center for the Study of Social Policy. As with Youth Thrive, Families Thrive can be adapted and customized to different audiences and incorporates new research findings over time.

Overarching Goal

Based in strengths-based and positive psychology perspectives, Families Thrive gives educators, social workers, policymakers, law enforcement personnel, and direct-service workers in any setting the concrete knowledge they need to understand young people and promote their long-term well-being.

Critical Premises

Families Thrive is based on five premises that reflect what adults need to do, but even more importantly, how they need to do it. Adults in Families Thrive will:

  • Understand current research on neuroscience and adolescent development, and its implications for working with young people

  • Understand the impact of traumatic stress on young people and which relationship skills will reduce that impact

  • Recognize relationships as a primary source of growth and learning for young people

  • Provide services that draw on the strengths of the young person's culture

  • Assess and modify your own beliefs and practices, and take care of yourself when the going gets hard


families thrive training-of-trainers

Interested in learning to train Families Thrive? The ToT is a rigorous five-day (35 hours) curriculum that includes  the standard training and provides real-time teach-back opportunities with coaching.  Graduates are authorized instructors of both Youth Thrive and Families Thrive. 

To participate in a Youth Thrive ToT, you should have:

  • Been trained in adult learning principles

  • Have experience training adults

  • Be able to participate in the full ToT, including the fifth day "teachback" session

  • The ability to teach Families Thrive to at least 50 people in the two years post-training

  • The willingness and ability to gather and submit data on all Families Thrive trainings you conduct

  • Willingness to actively participate in the Youth in Focus Thrive Community of Practice





Families Thrive Training-of-Trainers, Nebraska, 2017.

Families Thrive Training-of-Trainers, Nebraska, 2017.