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Home > Practice Areas > Parenting > Creating Parenting-Rich Communities

 
 

What is the Creating Parenting-Rich Communities Initiative?

In 2003, CWLA expanded on its six years of successful partnership with The Prudential Foundation in the Prudential Positive Parenting Initiative to launch a new three-year, three-phase initiative to strengthen parents, children, and communities. Continued funding by The Prudential Foundation has extended this initiative through June 2007.

Vision

A parenting-rich community values families and the role of parents and caregivers. It supports parents and caregivers, from all backgrounds, raising children from infancy through young adulthood. Resources, information, and supports are abundant and readily available. Public perceptions of parents and parenting expand to recognize that parents need support throughout their children's lifetimes. Investing in parents is seen as a wise use of resources, not only because it prevents many serious problems for children and youth, but because it recognizes what all parents want for their children-the very best.

A parenting-rich community is aware of how systems affect parents and their children. The community takes responsibility for building on its strengths and remedying its weaknesses to build a comprehensive support network that nurtures parents and helps all children thrive. Public policy decisions on such topics as economic development, zoning, education, and social, recreational, and cultural services are made with an understanding of their effects on parents and their parenting role. It is a community where supporting parents in the wonderful, difficult, and challenging task of raising children is seen as fundamental to the community's social and economic well-being.

Project

Creating Parenting-Rich Communities is a multiyear project of CWLA, designed to develop resources, tools, and information parents and other leaders can use to assess their communities and bring about changes to improve the lives of children by supporting parents and caregivers. The parents may be birthparents, adoptive parents, foster parents, or relatives raising young family members.

Objectives
  • Promote the development of parenting-rich communities as an essential method of providing for the optimal growth and development of all children and youth.

  • Develop incentives, resources, tools, methods, and information to help build parenting-rich communities.

  • Engage parents and other community leaders in the process of making their communities parenting rich.

Phase 1: Planning and Development of Tools and Resources

  • Define the elements and characteristics of a parenting-rich community and develop a matrix of services and resources that make up this community.

  • Integrate this project into CWLA's Making Children a National Priority: A Framework for Community Action, a comprehensive approach to meeting the Five Universal Needs of children.

  • Conduct an intensive review of research literature.

  • Review the work of other national organizations in supporting parents.

  • Identify evidence-based program models and approaches to support and advise parents.

  • Review the recent parent surveys of national organizations and conduct regional CWLA member and parent focus groups.

  • Develop tools for a parent-driven community assessment process.

  • Develop community implementation guides.

  • Promote parent leadership training.

  • Develop guides to provide strategies to engage business, political, religious, and neighborhood leaders in the assessment and implementation process.

  • Design a website highlighting all tools, resources, and research information.

  • Identify existing public awareness campaign strategies and tools.

  • Publish research and policy papers that support the investment in creating parenting-rich communities.
Outcomes
  • A body of evidence-based tools and resources, including themes and messages for Phase II and commitments from CWLA membership and national partners who can help us with Phase II implementation. National partners may include the National Association of Counties, the National League of Cities, United Way of America, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Phase 2: Launching a Public Education and Awareness Campaign

  • Create public messages to generate public support for parents and parenting-rich communities.

  • Provide CWLA member organizations with the tools and information to motivate parents and community leaders to build parenting-rich communities.

  • Engage the support of inspirational leaders and prominent citizens to promote the campaign.

  • Promote parent involvement and leadership activities.

  • Develop materials for local and national media use.
Outcomes
  • National dissemination, both print and online, of the evidence-based information and resources coupled with messaging and dissemination in three pilot communities where Prudential initiatives are already in place.

Phase 3: Implementing the "Creating Parenting-Rich Communities" Initiative

There are three ways communities or neighborhoods may implement this Initiative:
  • With funding from our Prudential Foundation grant, CWLA will work with parents and community leaders in three communities to implement the initiative by providing seed money and technical assistance. CWLA member agencies will be partners in bringing together key stakeholders for community partnerships.

  • Some communities will be motivated by the national awareness campaign and begin the implementation process independently. They will use the information, resources, and tools on CWLA's website to guide their efforts in creating a parenting-rich community with local funding and support.

  • Other communities will identify and develop funding and financial resources to undertake the process to create a parenting-rich community with CWLA consultation. CWLA will be available to provide onsite support while maintaining the parent-driven nature of the initiative.
Outcomes
  • Full strengths and needs assessments of the pilot communities, prioritized plans for implementation, and process and outcome evaluations of all three project phases.
With funding from The Prudential Foundation in Phases 2 and 3, CWLA will work with parents, community leaders, and CWLA member agencies in pilot communities, providing both seed money and technical assistance. The messaging in Phase II will have helped to develop public support for positive action steps. CWLA members will convene community partnerships, including key stakeholders, and prioritize an action plan tailored to each community's assessed strengths and needs. The assessment process will identify the need for resources to help parents strengthen their social support networks as they parent children and youth of all ages.

Community efforts to become parenting-rich will vary nationwide. While one community may choose to address the needs of parents raising adolescents, another may focus on the needs of parents with infants or young children. In neighborhoods with more active child and youth services, the focus may shift to engaging the business community to generate financial support for local efforts or to sensitize political leaders to the needs and strengths of parents and the effect of their decisions on children and families. Creating parenting-rich communities will be an ongoing process that continues beyond Prudential's three-year grant, resulting in new community norms that support a parenting-rich environment.

Continuing Support for the Prudential Positive Parenting Program

Continued support for the Prudential Positive Parenting program will be part of this initiative. Additional copies of the parenting education curriculum materials will be printed and distributed, free of charge, to child care, Head Start, and other early childhood programs during the three-year grant program.

For more information about the Prudential Positive Parenting Program or the Creating Parenting-Rich Communities Initiative, contact 703/412-2419 or parenting@cwla.org.


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