A focus on strengths is a fundamental part of the Core Practice Model. For children and families, understanding their strengths and capabilities can be an empowering discovery, connecting them with resources they can draw upon to bring about change in their lives.

One of the best ways to engage and motivate children and families is to remind them of strengths demonstrated in other situations that can be brought into the present circumstance. We are looking for more than superficial strengths; we are looking for functional strengths that can be used in service of the goal of child safety.


  • “When things are better for you and your family, what specifically will be different?”
  • “When you have worked through difficult issues in the past, what has helped you?”
  • “It sounds as if you have already survived a great deal. What is it about you that makes that possible?”
  • “Was there ever a time when you were just as angry, and yet you didn’t act out?”
  • “On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your willingness to stop drinking? What do you think it would take to raise the number closer to 10?”
  • “When you think about your own childhood, what would you say you do differently or better than your parents?”