Strengthening Families: Concrete Support in Times of Need 

By Larry F. Forthun, Samantha Carannante, and David C. Diehl

mother father and baby 

Parenting is a tremendous responsibility full of many moments of joy. But sometimes the rapid rate of a young child’s growth and development can leave parents feeling a little overwhelmed. This Strengthening Families Series highlights six factors that promote positive parenting and protect against stressors and frustrations that can lead to harsh parenting: Parental Resilience, Social Connections, Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development, Concrete Support, Social and Emotional Competence, and Nurturing and Attachment. Each of these protective factors offers families and children some defense against distress. However, together they combine to create a solid foundation of knowledge, parenting skills, and support that can help families thrive during everyday circumstances as well as persevere during times of stress or crisis (1).


All families need help sometimes (2). In times of need, families will often turn to other family members or friends. While these types of informal supports are important, some needs may require more concrete (or solid) financial or material support. Concrete supports allow families to maintain their financial security and ensure that they are able to meet daily needs or unexpected costs (3). There are many state and local programs that provide concrete support to families who qualify.

When to Ask for Help

Asking for help can be a very difficult thing to do and some parents may not be aware that they truly do need help. Families often do not know what is available to them through various programs and government agencies. They may feel they have to solve problems on their own. Being able to recognize the need for assistance and being willing to ask for help can greatly benefit families. If the health and well-being of your children and family are at risk because of a lack of resources such as money, food, and medical assistance, it is time to reach out for help...

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