Understanding protective factors

Not every child who experiences one or more adverse childhood experiences reports poor adult outcomes. A lower quality of life is not inevitable, and it would be fatalistic to assume that every child who experiences toxic stress has a life course that is ‘doomed’. No one child experiences trauma in the same way and there are many factors that influence an individual’s outcomes. These are often called ‘protective factors’ and they can act as a significant buffer against the impact of risk following trauma.

Protective factors can be divided into two categories: assets and resources. Assets are things within an individual, like having positive self-esteem and belief in their abilities. Resources are external factors like supportive relationships, positive situations, or helpful resources.

The importance of Protective Factors

Research has shown that it is the level of protection, not risk, that leads to poorer outcomes in adulthood, particularly in the area of offending . In this respect, the accumulative level of protection in a young person’s life is more important than the level of risk in terms of their resilience against the effects of trauma.

Resilience: Overcoming Adversity

The process of overcoming adversity is called resilience . Resilience theory focuses on the influence of protective factors that have the potential to interrupt a negative life course. Resilience theory supplies the scaffolding for understanding why some young people grow up to be healthy adults in spite of the trauma they have endured. To understand the level of resilience, it is important to examine the young person’s risks versus their protective factors.

Risk Factors v Protective Factors

Understanding that exposure to childhood adversity has long-term effects that may be moderated by protective factors is a crucial step in preventing and responding to trauma exposure and creating safer communities . This is one area of learning that can make a difference to the life course of children today who are experiencing physical and emotional harm.

The mental health of children and young people in England


Risk Factors

Protective Factors


Risk Factors

Protective Factors


Risk Factors

Protective Factors


Risk Factors

Protective Factors

Protective Factors

Protective Factors

Protective Factors

Protective Factors

FNB & the journey towards physical and mental wellbeing!

The last few years have been like no other in living memory with a Global pandemic completely altering the landscape for many of us. This period has been particularly impactful for many of our more vulnerable Young People who have had to cope with a variety of changes and disruptions.

Factors such as being unable attend school to benefit from the support and/or interaction of their teachers and peers will have affected the confidence and development of many. Being forced to live in the cocoon of a single location, be that the family home or some form of care/residential facility for 24 hours per day has had the unfortunate effect of increasing the numbers of young people requiring help and support with their mental health needs. 

Research has shown that one of the biggest contributors to increased childhood risk is the absence of a positive ‘constant’ in that individual’s life. Someone who can provide a level of consistency and stability which can invariably serve as a critical contributor to good emotional well-being.

The team at FNB do not purport to be child development experts and in many instances more specific support may be required to assist a young person in their journey. To this end, in addition to referring any safeguarding or criminal concerns that we are made aware of, we will also look to highlight and signpost any other issues that we believe fall outside of our area of expertise.

That said, what we do offer is the opportunity to be that element of stability and to act as a ‘constant’ for that individual for the duration of their time with us. Always having due regard to the significance of the fundamental Core Needs that are so important for so many of us regardless of our backgrounds, we will strive to nurture a safe, progressive environment where young people can feel comfortable enough to engage in meaningful conversation and explore their feelings freely.

Core Needs

The conditions needed to maintain wellbeing

1. To be safe, valued and cared for in our earliest relationships with caregivers.

2. To have a sense of security and belonging in a family/friendship/social group.

3. To feel safe and secure in our physical environment.

4. To form intimate relationships and partnerships.

5. To experience and manage a range of emotions.

6. To feel valued and effective in our family/social roles.

7. To feel authentic and live an authentic life.

8. To have some control over important parts of our lives, including our bodies and emotions.

9. To meet the basic physical and material needs for ourselves and our dependents.

10. To experience some sense of justice or fairness about our circumstances.

11. To have connections to the natural world.

12. To engage in meaningful activities and, more generally, to have a status and respect, a sense of hope, meaning
and purpose in our lives.

At the end of a young person’s time with us it is envisaged that they will have a greater appreciation of the value of a positive mindset and benefit from a deeper understanding of some of the key protective factors that are likely to be most pertinent to their situation.

FNB – Striving to ignite a zest for life by fuelling young people with the confidence & drive to move ‘Forwards Not Backwards’.