Physical Abuse

More than 700 connections form every second in a young child’s brain. Creating nurturing environments are the best way to build positive brain connections and create happy, safe childhoods. More safe children ultimately leads to a brighter future for Iowa.

PCA Iowa helps families create these nurturing environments by strengthening families with caregiver education, parent support services and safe places for kids. It’s important to give all parents resources that allow them to bond with their children, gain parenting skills and manage stress.

PCA Iowa supports many initiatives to equip parents and caregivers with the tools and resources they need to raise vibrant, healthy children.

Protective Factors Framework

We believe that a strengths-based approach focusing on the well-being of families is the most effective way to support kids. That’s why the research-informed Strengthening Families approach and Protective Factors Framework, introduced in 2003 by the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP), is a priority in our work. According to CSSP, the five protective factors listed below are characteristics that have been shown to make positive outcomes more likely for young children and their families, and to reduce the likelihood of child abuse.


The resilience of an individual depends, to a great extent, on their relationships and community. The more we learn about resilience, the more we recognize that it is the systems around us—family, school, neighborhood, church, friends, workplace and community—that influence the ability of both children and adults to be resilient.

Concrete Supports

Stable housing, access to health care, transportation and steady employment are the concrete supports that make families stronger. Community resources and services help parents meet these basic needs so they can focus on their role as parents.

Social Connections

The ability and opportunity to develop positive relationships help to build a supportive network for parents and families. Identifying a network of family, friends and neighbors provides encouragement and support in times of need.

Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development

Understanding child development helps parents respond appropriately to a child’s behavior—supporting physical, cognitive, language, social, and emotional well-being.

Social and Emotional Competence of Children

Developing a close bond helps parents relate, respond and communicate with their child. Interactions that help children develop the ability to communicate clearly, recognize and regulate their emotion, and establish and maintain relationships are essential to healthy child development.

Join Local Prevention Efforts

PCA Iowa partners with local organizations that offer parent resources such as education and young-parent support groups, abuse prevention classes, and crisis and respite child care in communities across the state. Use our list of partners to find resources and contacts for abuse prevention resources in your community.

Find Partners