Protective Factors Survey (PFS)

The FRIENDS National Resource Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention developed the Protective Factors Survey (PFS) for its network of federally-funded Community Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) programs in 2004. The PFS is the product of a collaboration between the FRIENDS Network and the University of Kansas Institute for Educational Research and Public Service.

The PFS is a self-administered pre-post evaluation tool designed for use with caregivers receiving child abuse prevention services. The instrument measures protective factors in five areas: (1) family functioning/resiliency; (2) social emotional support; (3) concrete support; (4) nurturing and attachment; and (5) knowledge of parenting/child development. The primary purpose of the PFS is to provide feedback to programs for continuous improvement and evaluation purposes. The questionnaire results are designed to help programs measure changes in protective factors and identify areas where workers can focus on increasing individual family protective factors.

The PFS is a pencil and paper questionnaire and is to be completed by program participants who are currently receiving prevention services. It contains 20 multiple choice questions in which participants are asked to respond to a series of statements about their family using a seven-point frequency or agreement scale.

When used as pre-test measures, the PFS should be administered to new clients before program participation begins but, ideally, no later than two weeks after the beginning of program participation. As post-test measures, the assessments must be administered at the end of program participation or at least once per year if client participation extends beyond the end of a contract year.

Occasionally, clients may complete a pre-test but not a post-test, or clients may complete a post-test but not a pre-test due to absences, leaving the program early, entering the program late, etc. Even if a client missed a pre-test, a post-test must still be administered.

PFS takes approximately 10-15 minutes to compete.  The instrument is divided into two sections, the first section is completed by the program staff member and the second section is completed by the program participant.

Tool

Number of Questions
20
Creator(s) of Tool
The FRIENDS National Resource Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention developed the Protective Factors Survey (PFS) for its network of federally-funded Community Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) programs in 2004. The PFS is the product of a collaboration between the FRIENDS Network and the University of Kansas Institute for Educational Research and Public Service.

Counts, J., Buffington, E., Chang-Rios, K., Rasmussen, H., & Preacher, K., (2010). The development and validation of the protective factors survey: A self-report measure of protective factors against child maltreatment. Child Abust and Neglect, 34(10), pages 762-772.

http://friendsnrc.org/protective-factors-survey
Scoring / Benchmarking
COMPUTING SCORES
The PFS consists of items with responses on a 7-point agreement scale. The points corresponding to each level of the scale are marked with boldfaced brackets: [1], [2], [3], [4], [5], [6], or [7]. Items number 8, 9, 11, 12, 14, and 16 require reverse coding, which is reflected in their corresponding brackets. To compute the total assessment score, sum the participants’ responses. Total scores will range from 20 to 140.
There are also subscales in this instrument. The following directions explain how to compute the scores for the subscaled:

Family Functioning/Resiliency
The FFPSC subscale is composed of items 1 through 5. If fewer than 4 of items 1 through 5 were completed do not compute a score. If 4 or more items were completed sum the items’ responses and divide by the number of items completed.

Social Support
The SS subscale is composed of items 6, 7, and 10. If fewer than 2 of these items were completed do not compute a score. If 2 or more items were completed sum the items responses and divide by the number of items completed.

Concrete Support
The CS subscale is composed of items 8, 9, and 11. If fewer than 2 of these items were completed do not compute a score. If 2 or more items were completed sum the items responses and divide by the number of items completed.

Nurturing and Attachment
The NA subscale is composed of items 17, 18, 19, and 20. If fewer than 3 of these items were completed do not compute a score. If 3 or more items were completed sum the items responses and divide by the number of items completed.

Child Development/Knowledge of Parenting
The knowledge of parenting and child development factor is composed of five unique items (12, 13, 14, 15, 16). Because of the nature of these items, calculation of a subscale score is not recommended. Means, standard deviations, and percentages should be used to assess an agency’s progress in this area.
Background / Quality
At least one published, peer-reviewed study demonstrates that the measure is reliable and/or valid beyond the level of face validity. In the validity analyses, all 4 subscales of the PFS demonstrate high internal consistency (.76-.89). Content validity, construct validity and criterion validity were examined and provide evidence that the PFS is a valid measure of multiple protective factors against child maltreatment. In two separate studies, the PFS subscales were found to be negatively related to stress, depression, and risk for child maltreatment, and positively related to adaptive coping and caregiver health.
Is there a cost associated with this tool?
No
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