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August 2016Vol. 17, No. 6Engaging Parents in Developing Positive Parenting Behaviors

Parenting interventions are structured activities aimed at engaging parents in ways that will help them develop positive parenting behaviors, such as nurturing, discipline, teaching, monitoring, and management. In a new publication, Implementing Parenting Interventions in Early Care and Education Settings: A Guidebook for Implementation, authors Tamara Halle, Diane Paulsell, Sarah Daily, Anne Douglass, Shannon Moodie, and Allison Metz provide a blueprint for the development of effective parenting intervention programs.

With a target audience that includes Head Start or child care directors, State child care agency leads, principals, family service workers, curriculum specialists, State infant/toddler specialists, child care network leaders, and State early care and education professionals, the guidebook provides the specific tasks involved in successfully implementing a parenting intervention program. The process comprises four stages of development: exploration, installation, initial implementation, and full implementation. The exploration stage includes creating an implementation team, conducting needs assessments, developing a logic model, and creating a project plan. Collecting information about parents in the community to identify possible interventions that match parents' priorities and engaging parents in multiple ways to understand their strengths and needs are key activities during this stage.

During the installation stage, staff within the program must make sure that all necessary resources and investments in the logic model that was developed during the exploration stage are in place so that the parenting intervention can be implemented successfully. During the initial implementation stage, staff members begin to utilize the lessons learned to deliver the intervention to families, while supervisors, managers, and coaches provide implementation supports. During full implementation, the new parenting intervention becomes fully operational with a fully-staffed program, full caseloads, and well-established implementation support. The authors suggest that fully implementing the steps outlined in the guide can take from 2 to 4 years.

Each step of the process is described, including key take-away messages and a series of tasks to consider during each stage of implementation. The guidebook also provides a list of references, a glossary of terms, additional resources related to implementation, and a checklist of activities for each stage of implementation.

Implementing Parenting Interventions in Early Care and Education Settings: A Guidebook for Implementation, published by the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, an agency of the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, can be accessed at (3 MB).