Implementing SF in ECE Programs

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  • 1. strengthening families in your early care and education program C E N T E R F O R T H E S T U D Y O F S O C I A L P O L I C Y
  • 2. In the beginning, CSSP was seeking a strategic, feasible approach to child abuse prevention that was :
    • systematic,
    • national,
    • could reach large numbers of very young children, and
    • would have an impact long before abuse or neglect occur
  • 3. Our hypothesis was that early care and education programs could be central because they offer:
    • Daily contact with parents and children
    • Uniquely intimate relationship with families
    • A universal approach of positive encouragement and education for families
    • An early warning and response system at the first sign of trouble
  • 4. The CSSP Process – grounded in extensive research Step 1 : Search the evidence to find out what factors really reduce child abuse and neglect Step 2 : Explore the connection between factors that prevent child abuse and neglect and what quality early childhood programs do to build them Step 3 : Identify programs that build the factors and learn how they do it
  • 5. what strategies do quality ECE programs use to help families as well as children? protective factors CAN prevention and optimal development parental resilience knowledge of parenting and child development social connections concrete supports in times of need social and emotional competence of children
  • 6. Parental Resilience
    • Psychological health; parents feel supported and able to solve problems; can develop trusting relationships with others and reach out for help
    • Parents who did not have positive childhood experiences or who are in troubling circumstances need extra support and trustworthy relationships
  • 7. Social Connections
    • Relationships with extended family, friends, co-workers, other parents with children of similar ages
    • Positive community norms about parenting and families
    • Mutual assistance networks: child care, emotional support, concrete help
  • 8. Knowledge of parenting and child development
    • Basic information about how children develop
    • Basic techniques of helping children develop, dealing with challenging behaviors
    • Alternatives to parenting behaviors experienced as a child
    • Help with challenging children
  • 9. Concrete Support in Times of Need
    • Response to a crisis: food, shelter, clothing
    • Assistance with daily needs: health care, education, job opportunities
    • Services for parents: depression and other mental health issues, domestic violence, substance abuse;
    • Specialized services for children
  • 10. Social Emotional Development
    • Connection between normal development and positive parent child interaction
    • Appropriate adult response to challenging behaviors, traumatic experiences or when development is not on track
    • What classroom learning sends home to families
  • 11.  
  • 12. program strategies protective factors CAN prevention and optimal development parental resilience knowledge of parenting and child development social connections concrete supports in times of need social and emotional competence of children Facilitate friendships and mutual support Strengthen Parenting Respond to Family Crises Link Families to Services and Opportunities Value and Support Parents Facilitate Children’s Social and Emotional Development Observe and respond to early warning signs of abuse or neglect how do early childhood programs contribute to prevention of child abuse and neglect?
  • 13. CAN Prevention Protective Factors Program Strategies Program Components Early Childhood Infrastructure
  • 14. CAN Prevention Protective Factors
    • Parental Resilience
    • Social Connections
    • Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development
    • Concrete support in times of need
    • Social and Emotional Competence of children
  • 15. CAN Prevention Protective Factors Program Strategies
    • Facilitate friendships and mutual support
    • Strengthen parenting
    • Respond to family crises
    • Help families get what they need
    • Value and support parents
    • Facilitate
    • children’s social & emotional development
    • Observe and respond to early warning signs of CAN
  • 16. CAN Prevention Protective Factors Program Strategies Program Components
    • Mental health consultation
    • Parent education
    • Family support
    • Physical space
    • Home visiting
    • Social emotional programming
  • 17. CAN Prevention Protective Factors Program Strategies Program Components Early Childhood Infrastructure
    • Staff training and Support
    • Linkages with other agencies
    • Strong relationship with CW
    • Parent Involvement
  • 18. Program elements
    • Family Support
      • Family Support Workers
      • Parenting Supports
      • Home Visiting
    • Social Emotional Strategies
      • Conflict resolution curricula
      • Arts programs
      • Diversity affirmation
    • Mental Health Consultation
  • 19. Staffing
    • Leadership that shares power
      • Clear parent leadership roles
      • Flexibility in staff roles
      • Decentralized management
      • Shared sense of mission
    • Focus on Capacity Building
      • Internal training and mentoring
      • Local hiring
    • Team based Approach
      • Team staffing
      • Regular meetings
      • Structured communication
  • 20. Relationships
    • Use of Space to welcome parents
      • Observation Areas
      • Dedicated Parent Space
    • Outreach to Men
    • Strong relationship with child protection agency
    • Relationships with other agencies and services
      • Networks, collaboratives, partnerships
  • 21. resources available to your program
    • Strengthening Families Guidebook: includes information about the research behind Strengthening Families and exemplary programs, as well as the Self Assessment
    • Self Assessment: a tool to help you evaluate what you are already doing to build Protective Factors with families and where you can make small but significant changes to enhance your program; you are encouraged to fill out the Self Assessment online at:
    • www.strengtheningfamilies.net: tools, presentations, handouts, message boards, training listings, and much, much more
  • 22. “ I find strength from the unconditional support and non-threatening environment here.” “ I don’t know how staff does it, but you know you can go to them with any issue and they’ll be professional and it will stay with them” “ I got referred to the program because I whacked my child. Before I used to beat her up like there was no tomorrow but now I don't.” Parents Say:
  • 23. The Bottom Line
    • Using early childhood education to prevent child abuse is:
    • A bold and promising departure from conventional prevention strategies
    • Supported by both early childhood professionals and child abuse prevention advocates
    • More than a collection of good program components. Success hinges on the quality of relationships
  • 24. I used to be argumentative and my grandbaby’s really calmed me down—its what she learns in the classroom that has made the difference
  • 25. Early care and education programs can serve several critical roles for young parents: 
    • as a primary source of information and support for young families
    • as a gateway to outside services or supports such as health or mental health services, transportation, and even education, housing and jobs.  
    • as the key early warning system when families or children are in trouble.
  • 26. “ This has really helped me—my child is really hyper and they’ve taught me a lot of patience and how to handle it.” “ It really motivates the child to bring out the best in the parent” “ My sense that I have other people I can depend on here is great. That’s huge.” “ I’m learning new ways to set boundaries—it makes me go back home and behave differently with her (my daughter) to reinforce what they’re teaching.”
  • 27. What your Program can do:
    • Use the self-assessment to identify areas for practice enhancement
    • Build effective linkages with child welfare agencies and child abuse prevention advocates
    • Educate others on the role early care and education can play in child abuse and neglect prevention
  • 28. “ I didn’t realize how hard being a mom was. Pat [the home visitor] was like a breath of fresh air—she gave me ideas for crafts and things that I could do with my baby. When I talk to mom’s in other county’s who don’t have this support I realize how lucky we are.” “ Of all the encounters I’ve had since I’ve been [in this community] this is the place where I feel the most safe, the most comfortable and the most welcome. “
  • 29. Center for the Study of Social Policy 1575 Eye Street, NW, Suite 500 Washington, DC 20005 tel: (202) 371-1575 fax: (202) 371-1472 www.cssp.org