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Family Strengthening and Parent Skills Training

Key Features

  1. Evidence-based parenting education and skills training
  2. Education to increase understanding of parenting and child development
  3. Support from program staff as well as peer-to-peer support among parents
  4. Linkages to services and resources to help improve overall family functioning
  5. Efforts to build parents’ leadership and advocacy skills

The quality and stability of young children’s relationships with their parents and other primary caregivers lays the foundation for children’s growth across a wide range of domains, including their cognitive, emotional, social, behavioral, and physical development. Project LAUNCH grantees bring evidence-based parenting support and education programs into communities; train professionals to implement evidence-based parenting programs; expand the capacities of programs to serve more families; and promote parent leadership.

Project LAUNCH grantees work to improve outcomes for young children by supporting parents’ ability to provide healthy, safe, and secure family environments in which children can learn and grow.

Programs are intended to empower parents and family members with the knowledge and skills to promote their child’s growth and social–emotional development as well as attend to their own mental well-being.

Although parenting programs vary in terms of format, length, and target population, they share a common goal: to increase parents’ knowledge of parenting and healthy child development, including the importance of positive parent–child interactions and responsive, nurturing relationships. Programs also seek to promote family well-being and strengthen families’ protective factors (e.g., parental resilience, social connections, concrete support in times of need, knowledge of parenting and child development, and social and emotional competence of children), which studies have demonstrated increase the likelihood of positive outcomes for children and families. Project LAUNCH funds parent-empowerment activities intended to support parents as leaders and advocates for their children in schools, in communities, and at the state level.

Grantee Highlights

  • Several Project LAUNCH grantees, such as California, Illinois, and Missouri, have offered Parent Cafés, which are designed to engage parents in meaningful conversations and self-reflection on their role as parents and to build the protective factors that research has shown can help mitigate the impact of trauma.
  • Boone County Project LAUNCH is among many Project LAUNCH grantees implementing Incredible Years® to provide parents of children ages 2–8 with parenting education and support on their children’s academic, social, and emotional development.
  • New Britain Project LAUNCH has adopted the Circle of Security Parenting (COS-P) model to improve parents’ and caregivers’ parenting skills and to help them understand the significance of providing security and emotional safety for their children. In addition, COS-P staff trained community providers in using the parenting program within their organizations. Communitywide implementation of COS-P has been so successful that it is currently being replicated in New Haven, Connecticut.
  • Vermont Project LAUNCH funds two family support organizations to employ outreach workers to engage families not currently receiving services, including immigrant families, and to connect them with appropriate resources. The outreach workers assist with information and referrals for children who have or are at risk for having developmental delays. Outreach workers also assist families in navigating the system of care, including finding health care coverage, a medical home, special education supports, community resources, and disability-specific resources.
  • The Pascua Yaqui Tribe Project LAUNCH, also known as Ili Uusim Hiapsi, has implemented a blend of tribe-specific curricula to cater to the needs of the community in family strengthening and parent skills training. The Pascua Yaqui Tribe utilizes the National Indian Child Welfare Association’s (NICWA’s) Positive Indian Parenting (PIP) curriculum and the Native American Fatherhood & Families Association’s (NAFFA’s) Motherhood Is Sacred® and Fatherhood Is Sacred® curriculum.
  • The Cherokee Nation Project LAUNCH has implemented the Triple P (Positive Parenting Program) curriculum, which is designed to give parents practical strategies to help them manage their children’s behavior, prevent issues from developing, and build positive relationships. In addition, the Cherokee Nation is implementing the Stepping Stones Triple P curriculum to support parents of children with special needs.

Beyond the Grant: LAUNCH Grantees’ Successes in Expanding and Sustaining Services to Children and Families

This brief highlights many notable and emerging successes of grantees in expanding and sustaining services for children and families in the five core Project LAUNCH strategies (screening and assessment; enhanced home visiting through increased focus on social and emotional well-being; mental health consultation in early care and education programs; family strengthening and parent skills training; and integration of behavioral health into primary care settings).

Policy Report: Creating Opportunity for Families: A Two-Generation Approach

Makes the case for creating opportunities for families by addressing the needs of parents and their children simultaneously. The report describes a new approach to reducing poverty, which calls for connecting low-income families with early childhood education, job training, and other tools to achieve financial stability and break the cycle of poverty. It recommends ways to help equip parents and children with what they need to thrive.

Supporting Infants, Toddlers, and Families Impacted by Caregiver Mental Health Problems, Substance Abuse, and Trauma: Community Action Guide

Discusses resources that service providers, advocates, and practitioners can use to better understand and engage the community in responding to children whose caregivers are negatively impacted by mental illness, substance use, or trauma.

Developmental and Economic Effects of Parenting Programs for Expectant Parents and Parents of Preschool-age Children

Identifies the long-term societal benefits of investing early (from conception to age five) in effective programs for children. This paper focuses on parenting education programs and seeks to answer the question, "If we made sufficient investment in effective parenting education programs, what might be the economic benefits to society?"

Parent Education to Strengthen Families and Reduce the Risk of Maltreatment

Provides an overview of research regarding key characteristics and training strategies of successful parent education programs for strengthening families and preventing child maltreatment. Information about selected evidence-based and evidence-informed parent education programs, including a list of registries that evaluate programs, is provided.

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