Engaging Parents in Preventive Interventions for Young Children: Working with Cultural Diversity Within Low-Income, Urban Neighborhoods
A robust literature documents the impact of poverty on child development and lifelong health, well-being and productivity. Racial and ethnic minority children continue to bear the burden of poverty disproportionately. Evidence-based parenting interventions in early childhood have the potential to attenuate risk attributable to poverty and stress. To reduce racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic disparities in the USA, parenting interventions must be accessible, engaging, and effective for low-income families of color living in large urban centers. This paper describes the initial development of ParentCorps and ongoing improvements to realize that vision. Initial development focused on creating a parenting intervention that places culture at the center and effectively embedding it in schools. ParentCorps includes core components found in nearly all effective parenting interventions with a culturally informed approach to engaging families and supporting behavior change. As the intervention is implemented at scale in increasingly diverse communities, improvement efforts include augmenting professional development to increase racial consciousness among all staff (evaluators, coaches, and school-based facilitators) and applying an implementation science framework to study and more fully support schools’ use of a package of engagement strategies.
KeywordsPrevention Early childhood Parent engagement Poverty Racial/ethnic minority Cultural diversity
We are deeply grateful for the families, teachers, assistants, social workers, school leaders, and other staff who have partnered with us in this work. We honor the wisdom and skill of ParentCorps Academy co-directors, Dana Rhule and Katherine Rosenblatt, and the team of trainers and coaches. We thank Tony Hudson of Pacific Educational Group for sharing his insights and guiding us toward racial equity transformation.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
This work was funded by the Institute of Education Sciences (R305F050245, R305A100596), National Institute of Mental Health (1R01MH077331-01), and the New York State Office of Mental Health (C007885).
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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