Supporting Parents of Young Children in the Child Welfare System

Beckmann, Katherine Anne; Knitzer, Jane; Cooper, Janice L.; Dicker, Sheryl

Consistent, responsive, and nurturing early relationships foster emotional well-being in young children, as well as create the foundation for the behavioral, social, and cognitive development essential for school readiness. Developmental research tells us that parents are one of the most important influences on children with high quality parenting essential for healthy child development. Thus, preventing behavior problems in young children requires family-oriented, evidence-informed strategies that address the needs of both parents and their children. This report explores the challenges and opportunities of improving mandated parent training for parents of young children in the child welfare system. Drawing on lessons from research and practice, it calls on states, courts and communities to use more intentional, cost effective, and strategic approaches to required parent training. The report is based on Improving Parenting Outcomes for Children in the Child Welfare System: an emerging issues roundtable that the National Center for Children in Poverty conducted in July 2007 in New York. The forum brought together leaders in child welfare, policymakers, philanthropists, researchers and those with practice expertise to explore the best means to ensure effective parenting training and to consider action steps to help this high risk population. (See Appendix I for a list of participants.) While parent education is only one component of a comprehensive service plan to help parents better parent, it is a point of potential leverage to improve the child welfare system by providing more effective prevention services, such as parenting education, and spending scarce resources more efficiently. This report explores the research, proposes criteria for effective programs, and discusses strategies that can be used at the local, state and national levels to change policy and practice.


More About This Work

Academic Units
National Center for Children in Poverty
National Center for Children in Poverty, Columbia University
Published Here
June 4, 2010