Strengths are personal and unique qualities that positively influence our lives.
Identifying and highlighting strengths can help us to make decisions, adjust to new changes, reach goals, stay motivated, and cope with strain or stress. All families and staff have unique strengths that can support them in working toward economic mobility goals.
Staff and families learn about each other's strengths through ongoing interactions and conversations.
Strengths related to economic mobility goals might include:
- Self-confidence, resilience, perseverance, or creativity
- Life experiences from education or past careers
- A strong network of family and friends
Explore the scenarios below for real-world examples of how to identify family strengths and resources.
Scenario 1: A parent recently lost their job.
Opportunity: Staff can point out strengths they see within the parent, such as confidence in their ability to make ends meet and keep a positive attitude. Staff can support the family in identifying resources available to them, like the fact that the family has a car to get to and from job interviews and a grandparent that can watch the children in the evening if a job comes up that requires later hours.
Scenario 2: A caregiver wants to find a job in the classroom as a teacher’s assistant.
Opportunity: Personnel policies, 45 CFR §1302.90(b)(6) requires programs to consider current and former program parents for employment vacancies for which such parents apply and are qualified. Staff can prompt the family to consider what strengths they have that will help them make progress toward this goal. For example, the family may share that they have volunteer experience as a teacher’s aide and have taken some college courses last year toward their AA degree. Their child is enrolled in Head Start services, so they have access to a network of teachers they can shadow or talk to. They have a stable living situation and support from their relatives. Staff can prompt the family to consider what strengths they have that will help them make progress toward this goal.
Resource Type: Article
National Centers: Parent, Family and Community Engagement
Last Updated: September 7, 2023