Several distinct Café models have emerged from the Strengthening Families TM National Network since 2007, most notably the Parent Café and Community Café.  The Café Approach, in the family support and strengthening movement, was designed to build awareness of and promote the Strengthening Families TM Protective Factors.  Parent leaders and communities continue to use the creativity and flexibility of the approach to design and develop Cafés that reflect the needs and culture of each community the Café serves.  All Cafés derive from the World Café model created by Juanita Brown and David Isaacs in 1995 with a simple but powerful process for “bringing people together around questions that matter.” 

Family Cafes are an adaptation of the World Café approach and infuse the principles of adult learning, and family support. Family Cafés provide a way to host and facilitate meaningful reflective conversations among parents and family members that promotes and builds the Strengthening Families Protective Factors. Through structured emotionally safe conversations, parents, and extended family members, learn from each other and come to understand and recognize the importance of Parental Resilience, Social Connections, Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development, Concrete Support in Times of Need and the Social and Emotional Competence of Children.

Each Family Café series will consist of bi-weekly or monthly Cafés. Each Café will include small and large group discussions where parents and family members converse about important family issues and ways to keep families strong and children safe.


CA LAUNCH Approach

In California, we are using the Café approach to engage families, promote peer support, and affirm parents’ leadership roles in their day to day family lives and in their communities.

The Cafe Approach – Using Café Conversations to engage families, build protective factors and enhance parent leadership.

For more information about the Impact of Cafés during the 2011-12 School Year, see the California Project LAUNCH, First 5 Alameda County, and Oakland Parents Together Impact of Parent Café (2011–12 School Year).


Cafe Resources

Family Café Design, Delivery, Planning & Implementation Tool
Launch Family Café Info Sheet PDF
Family Cafe Planning & Implementation Template
Family Café Planning & Implementation User Guide
“Ripples of Transformation: Families Leading Change in Early Childhood Systems” A Family Engagement Toolkit for Providers and Program Leaders

For more Cafe (Parent Support and Engagement using the Café approach) Videos & Related Content visit http://www.first5alameda.org/parent-cafes.


Other Café Videos

5 Things All Families Need- Maryland Family Network


Waldo – Oakland Parents Together


Café Approach Evaluation Resources

The following evaluation tools may be useful in measuring the impact of your Café program:

Café Participant Survey

Parent Assessment of Protective Factors (PAPF)

Protective Factors Survey (PFS)


Participant Survey (2013)

This survey was developed due to the absence of a standardized tool that aligned well with the program, and used in the local evaluation of the original California Project LAUNCH (2010–2014).  Survey items were created from constructs identified during a set of qualitative interviews with participants and staff during the first year of the program’s operation in East Oakland. It employs a retrospective pre- and post-test methodology, used in similar programs, including the Parenting Ladder survey from Parenting Now, and from parent leadership development programs described in Evaluating Outcomes and Impacts: A Scan of 55 Leadership Development Programs (Kellogg Foundation, 2002). This survey was first used in 2013 and has since been used by other programs implementing a Café approach.

Café Participant Survey, 2013—English

Café Participant Survey, 2013—Spanish

Image of caretaker and child


Parent Assessment of Protective Factors (2014)

The Parent Assessment of Protective Factors (PAPF, 2014) is a strengths-based measure that can be used as a pre/post instrument to assess change in parents’ self-reported beliefs, feelings and behaviors that align with Strengthening Families Protective Factors. The survey was developed by the National Quality Improvement Center on Early Childhood, and funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human services, Administration for Children, Youth, and Families. It aligns well with Family Café objectives and will be used in upcoming (2017–2019) multi-session Family Café series that occur in the California LAUNCH expansion counties.

PAPF Instrument

PAPF User’s Guide and Technical Report


Protective Factors Survey

The Protective Factors Survey (PFS) has been used in the evaluation of numerous programs utilizing the Café approach and other parenting programs. It assesses the perceived presence of five protective factors in caregivers of children. It was created by the FRIENDS National Resource Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention in partnership with the University of Kansas Institute for Educational Research & Public Service through funding provided by the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Protective Factors Survey (PFS)—English

Protective Factors Survey (PFS)—Spanish