Protective Factors Survey: It’s Not Too Late to Join!

Associate Researcher

Prior to working on the Protective Factors Survey (PFS) revisions, apart from a few other research and evaluation geeks, I thought I was alone in my nerdy excitement about survey design and development! Fortunately, I now know that I’m in good company, because I have gotten a lot of feedback and requests from social service providers and program evaluators who want to know more about what we’re doing with the new and improved PFS-2. If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably one of those curious individuals who is similarly excited about the survey! Let me tell you what we’ve been up to…

For the past several years, researchers at the University of Kansas Center for Public Partnerships and Research (CPPR) have been working closely with partners at FRIENDS National Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention to revise the original PFS. If you’re interested in learning more about why, or want to see our goals for the revisions, you can check out my colleague Jessica Sprague-Jones’ PFS Q&A post.

The PFS-2 is a 24-item questionnaire, designed to be used by programs that work to build protective factors among parents and caregivers to decrease the likelihood of child abuse and neglect. The protective factors measured in the revised survey include: Family Functioning and Resilience, Social Supports, Nurturing and Attachment, Concrete Supports, and the Caregiver/Practitioner Relationship. We ask questions about doing special things together as a family, and if there are trustworthy people available to ask for advice. We also look at things like having enough money to buy food and afford monthly needs, as well as how parents respond to their kids. Being able to provide social service workers with this kind of information is really helpful for them in providing the best, most appropriate services they can to meet the needs of parents and families.

In May 2017, we took the revised survey and launched a national field test with home visiting, parent education, and family support programs across the country to help us learn more about how our revisions are performing. The field test is a critical step in making sure we’ve crafted a strong survey, and the best part is, it’s not too late to join!

We’re going to be running the field test throughout the remainder of the year, and are eager to add new sites. If you’re interested in learning more, I’d love to hear from you! I’m really proud of the work we’ve done to improve this survey, and talking about it is one of my favorite things to do! Please feel free to contact me!

We have a ton of materials prepared for programs participating in the field test, including:

  • two web-based trainings (recorded, for your viewing and listening pleasure)
  • a fillable scoring worksheet that automatically calculates scores (super cool!)
  • a spreadsheet for collecting and reporting data (who doesn’t love a good spreadsheet?)
  • any and all the technical assistance you may need!

Soon I’ll be getting the first reports back from the current field test sites and am really excited to see how the survey functions out in the world. I’ll be updating this blog periodically throughout the duration of the field test to share some of the (hopefully!) interesting findings. Keep checking back here to stay on top of new developments coming out of the PFS-2 field test!

Thanks to Mallory Rousseau, M.A., for contributing to Ideas in Motion!

Mallory earned her Master’s degree in sociology from Wichita State University in Wichita, KS. She works primarily on the Protective Factors Survey (PFS) project along with developing materials and reports for the Kansas Children’s Cabinet and Trust Fund, including the Annual Investment Impact Report (aiir) and the CBCAP Common Measures report. Outside of office hours, Mallory is an avid pool player and an occasional baker.