News / Blog

GUEST BLOG: HOPE Framework Promotes Positive Experiences and Strengths-Based Partnership with Families

By Amanda Winn, MSW, Director of T&TA with HOPE National Resource Center at Tufts Medicine |

In the field of Early Childhood Education and family services, providers and families often receive training and information about the negative health outcomes that can come along with experiencing toxic stress and trauma.

The HOPE (Healthy Outcomes from Positive Experiences) Framework aims to shift the focus to the good effects that positive experiences have on our bodies and health outcomes. The Framework provides simple ways that anyone who has children or works with children can use to promote more positive experiences for the kids in their lives.  

The HOPE framework focuses on Four Building Blocks of positive experiences that families and communities can tap into to promote health and thriving for children. These Building Blocks include:

  • Relationships within the family and with other children and adults where the child feels seen, understood, and safe;
  • Safe, equitable, stable environments for living, learning, and playing where the child has basic needs met and the promise of physical and emotional safety;
  • Social and civic engagement to develop a sense of belonging and connectedness;
  • And opportunities for social and emotional growth.

The idea behind HOPE is that if families and communities learn more about the importance of positive childhood experiences for all kids, health outcomes for families and communities will be better. Research shows how these positive experiences can block the release of the stress hormone cortisol.

Cortisol is released normally by the brain when it experiences stress. If that stress doesn’t go away or is caused by trauma, that cortisol continues to be released and pumped through the body. After a period of time, bodies that experience chronic cortisol release get tired and have a harder time fighting off germs, having the energy to exercise, or the focus to pay attention.

Positive childhood experiences are able to stop that release of cortisol and help “turn off” the child’s stress response. There is strong research showing that positive experiences in childhood promote healthier adults.

Families and service providers cannot always control the negative things that people experience in life. All people experience stress and negatives from time to time. Empowering families with knowledge about the strength of what they can control will increase positive outcomes for families as they focus on the power of positive experiences.


ClackCoKids occasionally offers our blog as a space for our partners to share information, resources, and insight to the community at large. Thoughts and opinions expressed in the blog are those of the blog author, and do not necessarily reflect the values of ClackCoKids.