- Nurturing is the driving force behind everything we do at FNC. Today, scientific consensus confirms the importance of consistent, nurturing and responsive parenting and nurturing environments for child well-being and future success in kindergarten, school and life. (Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University).
- Nurturing parenting creates a secure attachment between child and parent, which enables autonomy and security in new situations. Adverse childhood experiences (ACES), including child abuse and neglect, have an immediate impact on child well-being and far-reaching consequences into adulthood.
- The Nurturing Parenting Program was designed as an intervention for parents at risk of, or with a record of, child neglect or abuse, though every family can benefit from participation. Across more than 30 years of evidence, studies show consistent improvements among parents and significantly lower rates of return to abuse or neglect of under 10%, vs. much higher rates among parents with no intervention.
- Nurturing Program evaluations have also shown high levels of completion among participants (70% and more), a significantly higher rate than research on other programs implemented in child welfare systems.
Between FY15 and FY19, 80% of parents in FNC’s Nurturing Programs who began FNC’s programs completed the 12-15 session programs, which are held weekly for 2.5 hours.
Each year, overall FNC Nurturing Program participant scores in each of five measured parenting concepts increase, with the greatest gains consistently made in the construct of Empathy, the lack of which indicates risk for abuse and neglect.
Enhancing Early Cognitive and Social Skills
- Helping parents be their children’s first teachers is woven throughout our work with families. Parents bolster children’s early cognitive and social development through frequent high quality learning interactions – reading, talking, and playing together. FNC’s strategy includes both home-based and group-based models to increase these positive interactions between parents and their young children.
Of 181 respondents to Welcome Baby phone surveys over a 2-year period, 92 were reading once per week or less often at the time of their home visit. At the time of the follow-up call, 72% had increased their reading frequency to at least 2-3 times per week. Of 61 parents who had initially reported they were never reading to their child, 56 (92%) reported at the follow-up call that they were reading to their child.
- Children’s development of healthy social-emotional skills (ability to self-regulate, persevere, cooperate, be helpful, delay gratification) before they enter kindergarten is a predictor of better outcomes when they become adults (higher education, job attainment, health). (Heckman, 2015, heckmanequation.org)
Parent-Child Playgroups provide weekly opportunities for parents to learn about and for young children to practice social-emotional skills in a facilitated group setting.
Ensuring School Readiness
- Evaluations of the ParentChild+ Program (formerly Parent-Child Home Program, a national home visiting model) have shown that program completion increases kindergarten readiness prevalence by 50%; delivers significantly higher math, reading, and language scores by third grade; reduces the need for special education by 65%; and increases high school graduation rates by 30%.
- Our Parent-Child Playgroup model builds on emerging evidence of supported playgroups’ positive impacts for child development.
Between FY15 and FY19, 83% of surveyed Parent-Child Playgroup parents reported their child usually or always demonstrates school readiness skills (following a leader’s directions, transitioning smoothly, trying new things) following regular participation.
In FNC’s Boston ParentChild+ Program over the past five years, 89% of parents completing two cycles of 23 bi-weekly visits improved in communication, consistency, and responsiveness. Ninety-four percent of children completing two cycles achieved a score (3 or above out of 4) on the Child’s Behavioral Traits measure that is ParentChild+’s indicator for school readiness.
- Parents do not live and bring up their children in a vacuum. A community-centered approach recognizes and addresses the family and social determinants of nurturing parenting.
- Parents’ ability to nurture and protect their children is supported by many protective factors, including increased opportunities for nurturing relationships with other adults in and outside the family, increased access to social support networks and to concrete resources in time of need.
- FNC’s work to connect families to each other and to resources is an integral part of our theory of social change and permeates all our programming.
Consistently, about 70% of surveyed Parent-Child Playgroup parents say they made a new friend whom they would feel comfortable asking for help; more than half say they meet with other families outside of Playgroup, expanding their own networks of support.
Families in Nurturing Programs develop friendships within the group, give each other rides, connect for social outings, and support each other with resources in times of need.
- Our main office houses one of four Patch programs in the state, which blends community engagement with the expertise of state child welfare workers. This collaboration with the Department of Children & Families enhances FNC’s preventive reach, supports families more effectively and quickly, prevents unnecessary placements (in state custody), and increases the share of children placed with kin.
Increasing access to effective parenting education and practices is a crucial element of the work of moving people out of poverty. This is the broad consensus among academic researchers, practitioners and community leaders. FNCs model exemplifies these sustainable and effective practices.