Research has found that when parents have multiple risk factors, i.e. a lack of education, poverty or youth, they are less likely to interact positively with their infants and toddlers.
The lack of positive interactions delays children’s cognitive development and can lead to behavioral problems. Homelessness, poverty and other risk factors make children more likely to experience trauma, abuse or developmental delays. According to researchers, parenting education programs such as those provided by ECPC, can increase appropriate development in young children. For example, a 2005 report from the RAND Corporation found that high-quality early childhood programs reduced the use of special education, being held back in school, juvenile crime and use of welfare in adulthood. ECPC provides parenting education groups and counseling to the residents and training for staff at homeless and domestic violence shelters to counteract serious risk factors including homelessness, poverty, youth or emancipation from the child welfare system.
- Parent education program: ECPC provides on-site weekly parent training in the form of parent-only and parent-child groups. Each parent-toddler group is staffed by a Masters level group leader, an ECPC child development specialist and two interns. The parent-only groups are staffed by one Masters level group leader. Topics for parent education groups include 1) reducing neglect and abuse by teaching parents how to provide a safe physical and emotional environment for their children; 2) the developmental importance of bonding and attachment for children; 3) improving overall parenting skills; 4) the effects of domestic violence, substance abuse and unstable environments on children.
- Counseling: An ECPC first- or second-year graduate intern provides counseling once a week for an hour with a parent and child or children in their own apartment unit. ECPC uses a standard of six sessions for assessment and intervention. However, we will continue to see families longer if clinically indicated. Based on the assessment, the graduate intern provides intervention to strengthen the parent-child relationship and build social-emotional connections. The counseling interns receive weekly supervision from ECPC’s Clinical Director.
- Staff training: ECPC trains staff of the transitional housing programs so that they can gain a better understanding of child development and give more support to the residents at their facility. Examples of topics include understanding early childhood development, addressing developmental delays, behavior issues, and more.
Currently ECPC is working with the following organizations to provide parenting support and education to their vulnerable populations:
- Gramercy Housing Corporation
- Upward Bound House
- Salvation Army Bessie Pregerson Child Development Center
- Westwood Transitional Village
- Community Corporation of Santa Monica
- Harvest Home
- Prototypes, Star House
Your support enables ECPC to sustain and expand programs serving low-income, at-risk families. We appreciate your contribution, whether it be a tax-deductible donation, services, or your time.