What is the Strengthening Indiana Families Project?
Strengthening Indiana Families (SIF) is a five-year project primarily funded by the federal Children’s Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, through its Community Collaborations initiative. SIF is one of thirteen sites across the country funded by the Children’s Bureau to design, implement and evaluate strategies for the primary prevention of child maltreatment. The project is overseen by Indiana University School of Social Work researchers and staff.
Project Key Components
We examined our four counties' needs and found three major risk factors that need to be addressed in order to achieve SIF’s goals, including poverty and legal problems, domestic violence, and substance use.
Family Resource Centers
- SIF partners will pilot four family resource centers, located in target counties.
- Will be located in places where families already go (e.g., libraries, recreation centers, schools, etc.)
- Staffed by members of the community with operational support from SIF partners (Children’s Bureau, Inc.
- Designed to provide easy access to a range of services and supports
- Multiple providers and community partners will offer services and supports at the family resource centers (e.g., tutoring programs, notary services, parent training, tax preparation, etc.)
- Eligibility criteria for supports and services will be as broad as funding allows
- SIF steering committee members will enhance cross-system collaboration to advance primary prevention of child maltreatment
- Evaluate current alignment of resources to identify duplication of services
- Explore ways to align funding and services in support of grant activities and according to family needs
Public Awareness Campaigns
- Public awareness campaigns will use traditional advertising (e.g., social media) as well as the use of family fun events to bring the community together and let families know about resource centers in their neighborhood
- A campaign will be organized around the theme of “Kids Don’t Come with Instructions. We are here to help” in an effort to normalize the need for parenting supports and parenting skills training at various developmental stages
Mission & Vision
Strong and caring communities throughout Indiana where families have equitable access to the resources they need to be connected and safe.
Working together, the Strengthening Indiana Families steering committee coordinates the development, implementation, and evaluation of four family resource centers in Indiana. Intended as a proof-of-concept for primary prevention of child maltreatment, our family resource centers and associated services provide a comprehensive set of supports for Indiana families designed to improve parent and child well-being in stigma-free environments.
Respect, dignity, courage, care, connection, equity and social justice, and collaboration
Guiding PrinciplesRelationship-basedValues-orientedStrengths-basedFamily-driven (individualized & empowering)Trauma-informedCulturally responsiveEquity and social justice-orientedDevelopmentally appropriatenessPrevention-focusedOutcomes-informedEvidence-drivenCommunity-basedCollaboration-based (Multisystem service integration)
SIF philosophy, partnership, approaches, and Theory of Change are visually depicted in our Flower Model below.
Families have strengths and naturally occurring supports (stem in green). They have routine and early contact within the community (petals in blue). Traditional partners, in red, will collaborate in the design, implementation, and evaluation SIF. Services provided at FRCs are represented by waterdrops, SIF provides the soil, and the sun represents family-strengthening policies and attitudes in the community and across systems.