When families make the news, it is often for negative reasons such as violence or abuse. Negative perceptions of low-income families tend to be especially strong. However, families are critical to the positive development of children and youth, as well as to problems that may affect that development. Thus, it is important to examine not just the deficits, but also the assets and strengths that families of all income levels bring to raising children.This Research Brief reports on the results of new Child Trends analyses of data from the 2005 Every Child Every Promise Study conducted by America's Promise Alliance. Our findings indicate that family strengths are associated with significantly better outcomes for adolescents in both lower-income families and higher-income families. Specifically, we found that adolescents from families that have these strengths are more likely to perform well in school, to avoid risky behaviors, and to demonstrate positive social behaviors than are adolescents from families that lack these strengths. Although our particular focus was on lower-income families--those making less than $50,000 a year--we found similar results for families making $50,000 a year or more. (Author abstract)
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