Parent Cafés

The more you come, the more like family you become.
— Parent, Missouri Project LAUNCH


In 2007, the Parent Café process was developed by parent leaders from Strengthening Families Illinois to design a parent-to-parent way to bring the Strengthening Families™ Protective Factors to families.

The Strengthening Families™ Protective Factors are:

  • Resilience: Parent Resilience

  • Relationships: Positive Social Connections

  • Support: Concrete Support in Times of Need

  • Knowledge: Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development

  • Communication: Social and Emotional Competence

Parent Cafés are physically and emotionally safe spaces where parents and caregivers talk about the challenges and victories of raising a family. Through individual deep self-reflection and peer-to-peer learning, participants explore their strengths, learn about the Protective Factors, and create strategies from their own wisdom and experiences to help strengthen their families.

Cafés are structured discussions that use the principles of adult learning and family support. They are highly sustainable with training reinforcement, institutional support, and a commitment to an approach that engages and affirms parents as leaders. Participants leave Parent Cafés feeling inspired, energized, and excited to put into practice what they’ve learned.

To learn about our Parent Café evaluation efforts and how we know Cafés work, visit our Parent Café Evaluation page.

What I love about Cafés are that they set the tone from the beginning that everyone is equal... Everybody is learning, and everyone feels comfortable to open up.
— Parent Leader, Consejo de Padres en Acción, California

At Be Strong Families, we continue to take Parent Cafés to the next level. The Be Strong Families Parent Café model has touched thousands of families through Race to the Top Early Learning Grants, SAMHSA Project Launch Grants, Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention initiatives, Child Welfare Systems, Family Resource and Support Centers, Early Childhood Development Centers, and other school- and community-based initiatives.

  • Parent Cafés (always bilingual in English and Spanish) have been adapted and translated into Chinese, Swahili, French, and Arabic.

  • Dads Cafés provide the foundation for Parent Cafés with fatherhood themes.

  • A More Perfect Union Parent Cafés allow parents to explore the broader context for parenting in a complicated and often unjust world.

  • Vitality Cafés provide a deeper dive into how parents can take care of themselves across six Vitality domains: physical, mental & emotional, spiritual, social, financial, and environmental.

What did we learn? To love ourselves more in order to better love others.
— Parent, Strengthening Families Maryland / Maryland Family Network

Get Involved

CONTACT US to learn more and bring Parent Cafés to your area, or for a list of Parent Café Workshops and Trainings, visit our SERVICES→

Parent Café In A Box

To purchase Parent Café in a Box from our online shop, check out our RESOURCES→

Café Community of Practice

If you have been trained by BSF to host Cafés in your community, join our closed Café Community of Practice Facebook Group.

Parent Café Evaluation

To be part of our national Parent Café Evaluation effort, click here to learn more or email

...I wasn’t that patient and didn’t have lots of ways to deal with children other than yelling or [threatening].  I didn’t know to just take a good ten seconds before I react to anything, and then to ... just listen, rather than going into a rage.
— Parent, California Project LAUNCH, First 5 Alameda County and Oakland Parents Together