Welcome to Strengthening Maine Families
Strengthening Maine Families supports child care providers to help parents become stronger parents. Child care providers learn to approach parents as the experts on their own children, to listen openly to their concerns and ideas, and to work together with parents to find answers to questions and concerns about child development. Rather than giving advice, this approach fosters more trusting relationships between providers and parents.
When child care providers work in partnership with parents, mothers, fathers, and other caregivers, then families are more likely to invite and welcome their child care provider’s support in evaluating their children’s needs, developing goals, and identifying effective ways to strengthen the family and provide care for children.
Strengthening Maine Families is a proven, cost-effective initiative that brings together early childhood center staff, family child care providers, parents, child welfare agencies, and their communities to strengthen families with young children. Getting started IS EASY! First, take the online self assessment. Next, identify one area you want to improve, pick one strategy from the list, and then try it for a month. Note what changes occur--if it does not work try something else.
The early years matter. We know that a child’s brain architecture develops much like building a house. Starting with a strong foundation, the framework for lifelong learning, growth and development is constructed through social and cognitive experiences. Key to this is the serve and return—the interaction of a young child with the people and places around them. When families are better able to respond to a child’s cues, that healthy experience supports the child and strengthens its family relationships.
Strengthening Maine Families is grounded in the research that recognizes how children develop and has identified the important protective factors that strengthen every growing family:
1. Parental Resilience: taking care of self and learning to manage stress.
2. Social Connections: creating natural parent support.
3. Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development: understanding leads to better parenting.
4. Concrete Support in Times of Need: helping Parents learn where to go when they need help.
5. Social and Emotional Competence of Children: helping children to communicate and understanding how to help them develop appropriately.
6. Healthy Parent Child Relationships: giving children the love and respect they need.