of Quality


• What does it mean to be a quality Family Strengthening and Support Program?
• What common language can we use for working effectively with families?

How can managers, direct service staff, and families work together to develop and sustain quality programs?

To download a free copy of the Standards, please register, which helps the National Family Support Network to track the level of interest in them.




The nationally-adopted Standards of Quality for Family Strengthening & Support integrate and operationalize the Principles of Family Support Practice and the Strengthening Families Framework and its research-based evidence-informed 5 Protective Factors. 


The Standards have created a common language across different kinds of Family Strengthening and Family Support programs such as Family Resource Centers, home visiting programs, and child development programs.  They are designed to be used by all stakeholders – public departments, foundations, networks, community based organizations, and families - as a tool for planning, providing, and assessing quality practice.  The vision is that their implementation will help ensure that families are supported and strengthened through quality practice.

Standards Overview Document

 View a recording of the monthly Standards Overview webinar on the Webinar Wednesdays page.

“Adopting national standards has helped build credibility of Family Support and Strengthening work in our own state and common language and expectations among us all.”  
– NFSN Member


The California Network of Strengthening Families Networks (CNFSN) developed the Standards over a period of 18 months with the financial support of the S.H. Cowell Foundation and the leveraged support of the California Office of Child Abuse Prevention through Strategies.

The CNFSN conducted a research review of 17 different sets of Standards across the United States, and decided to work off of the San Francisco Family Support Standards, which had been successfully implemented in that city and county since 2007. 

As part of the development process, the Standards were vetted twice with nearly 1,000 Family Support and Strengthening organizations serving rural, urban, and many other diverse populations across California.  They were reviewed by the Center for the Study of Social Policy to confirm their appropriate incorporation of the Strengthening Families Framework.


The Standards are organized into 5 areas of practice with 17 standards, each with minimum and high quality indicators and implementation examples:

Family Centeredness

Working with a family-centered approach that values and recognizes families as integral to the Program.

Family Strengthening

Utilizing a family strengthening approach to support families to be strong, healthy, and safe, thereby promoting their optimal development.

Embracing Diversity

Acknowledging and respecting families’ diversity, supporting their participation in a diverse society, as well as engaging in ongoing learning and adaptation to diversity.

Community Building

Contributing to building a strong and healthy community by facilitating families’ social connections, developing their leadership skills, and by collaborating with other Programs.


Looking at areas of Program strength, as well as areas for further development, in order to guide continuous quality improvement and achieve positive results for families.


Since being issued, the Standards have gained traction in a variety of settings:

  • Independent research, a literature review commissioned by the Family Resource Association in Colorado and conducted by the OMNI Institute, identified seven key components for effective Family Resource Centers - all of which are represented in the Standards.

  • The Standards were incorporated into the Family Engagement Enhanced Pathway of California's Race to the Top Family Quality Ratings and Improvement System.

  • Parents as Teachers developed a crosswalk of the Standards with their Quality Standards.

  • The National Family Support Network, in conjunction with Center for the Study of Social Policy and FRIENDS, developed a resource to help both funders and programs analyze some of the current program assessment resources available, including the Standards assessment tools.


The Standards have been selected for presentation at many meetings, conferences, and webinars including:


  • Canadian Association of Family Resource Programs National Conference

  • Parents as Teachers International Conference


  • National Child Abuse and Neglect Technical Assistance and Strategic Dissemination Center (CANTASD) Digital Dialogue

  • Children's Bureau/Office on Child Abuse and Neglect National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect

  • Center for the Study of Social Policy Networking Webinar

  • Child Welfare League of America Conference

  • Coalition for Community Schools National Forum

  • FRIENDS National Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention Webinar

  • National Alliance of Children's Trust and Prevention Funds Webinar

  • Prevent Child Abuse America/Healthy Families America National Conference for America's Children

  • National Head Start Association Parent and Family Engagement Conference


  • Family Resource and Youth Services Coalition of Kentucky Coalition Fall Institute

  • First 5 Association of California

  • Oklahoma Child Abuse and Neglect Conference

  • Prevent Child Abuse West Virginia Partners in Prevention Meeting

If you are interested to have a presentation on the Standards for a conference, meeting, or webinar, please contact the NFSN Director