Thursday, May 30, 2019
Regency B (Hyatt Regency San Francisco)
* noted as presenting author
Introduction: A wealth of research highlights the connection between parenting education and increased positive parenting practices, health-promoting behaviors, cognitive and social development, and child and parent mental health (Grindal et al., 2006; Pinquart & Teubert, 2010) as well as decreased parent stress and child abuse and neglect (Lundahl & Nimer, 2006). Despite this research, parenting education opportunities are limited in most states. This study focuses on an initiative by four philanthropic foundations and a university to create a statewide infrastructure for parenting education through regional parenting education Hubs. Study aims were to: 1) examine the impact of a statewide parenting education system on availability of parenting education programs and 2) evaluate the impact of parenting education on parenting practices. Methods: Programming data were collected from 15 parenting education Hubs from 2010-2018. Hubs reported on programs offered, number of families served, demographics, and evaluation data. Data were analyzed from a sample of 7,815 parents who participated in parenting education series. Participants were 33 years on average (SD=9.4), 70% women, and 70% low-income. Parents identified as Caucasian (65%), Hispanic/Latino (25%), Black/African-American (3%), Asian/Pacific Islander (3%), and Native American (1%). A pre-post retrospective assessment (Parenting Skills Ladder) was used to measure positive parenting practices, averaging pre/post scores across 12 items (α=.89; Eigenvalue=5.07; factor loadings: .53-.72). Results: RQ 1: Programming data revealed that Hubs significantly increased availability of parenting education statewide with 21,723 families participating in 2,637 parenting series; 9,338 new families reached through home visits; 53,840 parents participating in workshops; and 256,875 people participating in family activities. RQ 2: Participants in parenting education series reported significant gains in positive parenting practices, t(7814)=134.76, p<.001. Multiple regression analysis testing for effects of gender, ethnicity, parenting method (parenting alone/co-parenting), income, attendance, and curriculum on gains in positive parenting practices was statistically significant, F(12, 7802)=228.59, p<0.001, R2=.26. Attendance was significantly associated with parenting gains with greatest gains seen for participants who attended “most classes” (β=.1). Participation in evidence-based curricula related to significantly higher scores than participating in non-evidence-based curricula (β=.07). Conclusions: Findings highlight that a statewide infrastructure increased access to parenting education. Innovative partnerships may be an effective approach to ensure families have the skills they need to thrive.