Committee on Supporting the Parents of Young Children 

3/2015

An ad hoc committee will conduct a study that will inform a national framework for strengthening the capacity of parents of young children birth to age 8. The committee will examine the research to identify a core set of parenting knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAPs) tied to positive parent-child interactions and child outcomes, as well as evidence-based strategies that support these KAPs universally and across a variety of specific populations. These KAPs and strategies will be brought together to inform a set of concrete policy recommendations, across the private and publicsectors within the health, human services, and education systems. Recommendations will be tied to promoting the wide-scale adoption of the effective strategies and the enabling of the identified KAPs. The report will also identify the most pressing research gaps and recommend three to five key priorities for future research endeavors in the field. This work will primarily inform policy makers, a wide array of child and family practitioners, private industry, and researchers. The resulting report will serve as a “roadmap” for the future of parenting and family support policies, practices, and research in this country.

The committee will address the following questions:

  1. What are the core parenting KAPs (i.e., knowledge, attitudes, practices), as identified in the literature, that support healthy child development, birth to age 8? Do core parenting KAPs differ by specific characteristics of children (e.g., age), parents, or contexts?
  2. What evidence-informed strategies to strengthen parenting capacity, including family engagement strategies implemented in various settings (e.g., homes, schools, health care centers, early childhood centers), have been shown to be effective with parents of young children, prenatal to age 8? Are there key periods of intervention that are more effective in supporting parenting capacity, beginning in high school or earlier?
  3. What types of strategies work at the universal/preventive, targeted, and intensive levels (e.g., media campaigns, information sharing, text reminders; social support groups, self-monitoring and tracking online; modeling and feedback coaching, intensive home visiting), and for which populations of parents and children? The committee will consider the appropriate balance betweenstrategies tailored to unique parent and child needs and common strategies that can be effective and accepted with parents across groups.
  4. What are the most pronounced barriers, including lack of incentives, to strengthening parenting capacity and retention in effective programs and systems designed to improve developmental, health, and education outcomes for children birth to age 8? How can programs and systems be designed to remove these barriers?
  5. Are there evidence-based models of systems and programs that support parenting capacity and build upon existing assets of families, including underserved, low income families of color?
  6. What are 3-5 research areas that warrant further investigation, in order to inform policy and practice?

Source: Institute of Medicine, National Academies of Science

Available at: http://iom.nationalacademies.org/activities/children/committeeonsupportingtheparentsofyoungchildren.aspx

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