Parent Supports@100% means all our parents are empowered to succeed.
Parent Supports@100% means all our parents are empowered to succeed.
Inside The Center
Here’s a quick overview of what you will find below.
What Families Face
Short stories from families facing challenges, illustrating the need to address barriers to vital services.
10 Innovations Await
The sidebar menu takes you to ten innovations areas, each one providing projects action team members are implementing to remove barriers to services.
The Root Causes
We provide an overview of why families struggle to access vital services in what we might call “normal times” and in times of public health or economic crisis.
A Pandemic’s Impact on services
A brief review of how the pandemic impacts each county across the state.
Where on Earth
How solutions exist today.
The Center’s Mission
Parent Supports for 100%
Welcome to the Center for Parent Supports@100%, the nation’s first center to provide county and city stakeholders with research, data-driven strategies, insights and support to end parent support disparities on a countywide scale, ensuring all resident’s parent support needs are met. Parent support disparities, lack of timely access to the array of affordable parent support programs, has been with us for as long as we have started inventing the services and programs to help parents with parenting on the planet. In the last few decades societies of all sizes have found ways to provide accessible parent supports to all residents needing it.
In modern societies the cause of parent support disparities can often be tracked down to lack of investment in the human capital and resources to secure the right amount of affordable parent support programs and providers. In the USA, a country with vast amounts of wealth and resources, we have all the technology and know how to make the lack of parent supports history.
One quick online search will overwhelm you with solutions to the parent support disparities problem. The enormous number of results shows that there are many people searching for answers, interested in understanding the root causes of disparities and how to solve it.
When we begin to “Google it” for results:
Parent-friendly urban design: 76,700,000
Supporting parents in rural communities: 205,000,000
Strategies for supporting single parents: 151,000,000
How to create a cadre of parent educators: 1,640,000
How to support parents with special needs children: 888,000,000
“Parent support disparities are a man-made problem, not an act of nature, requiring human ingenuity to solve.”
— From the book Parent Supports@100%: How we ensure all county residents can access to parent supports
Within an internet full of valuable research, inspiring insights and distracting clutter, solutions await you here in the Center for Parent Supports@100%. Your introduction to the issues here in the “Center’s Main Hall” will guide you to what we call our ten “Innovation Areas” where action team projects await your review and engagement.
What the Center for Parent Supports@100% provides you with are the strategies to ensure, county by county, that systems of parent supports are working effectively to serve all residents. We live in a time of vast knowledge regarding innovations in face-to-face and online parent supports, where the only reason for a family going without easy access to affordable parent supports in your locality is manmade. The human ingenuity you discover here can ensure that 100% survive and thrive.
Parents have the most challenging and rewarding jobs on earth; important work for which almost no one receives any formal training. The good news is that we have more research — millions of articles and books — on effective parenting; enough to rival almost any field of study. We know precisely which services parents need in order to have the best chance of raising healthy children. With collaboration between our city, county and school leadership, every city and town can create a robust system of support for every parent. This gives us the best chance of reducing adverse childhood experiences and ending the cycle of trauma, abuse and neglect.
In the Center for Parent Supports@100%, we take on a very complicated system with numerous challenges. We provide an overview of parent support systems all offer solutions. Get ready to be overwhelmed, and also inspired. We will guide you through all the steps to put ideas into action.
One Parent: Many Needs
Parent supports come in many forms, including: expectant parent workshops, new dad events, parent mentoring, training, home visiting and respite care. Our goal with this chapter is to empower you and your action teams in creating a seamless system of support that includes home visitation, respite care and parent empowerment/education programs.
One of the best strategies we have for ensuring safe childhoods is called home visitation. This entails sending a nurse or other professional to a parent’s home for a weekly visit for the first few years. During the home visit, this professional will ask questions, listen and review parenting best practices. He or she is working to make sure that the child is healthy and safe, and that the parent is fully supported and able to access key services.
To support the overwhelming job of parenting, especially with a newborn, we advocate for respite care. These types of programs give moms and dads a break from the 24/7 stress of parenting and allows them to take on other tasks that include self-care.
Lastly, our countywide system needs to provide a menu of parent empowerment/education programs that give parents-to-be and parents of all ages of children the information and skills needed to be successful. In our perfect world, each county would have a parent center that houses a cadre of parent educators with the skills to facilitate workshops on every topic relevant to child rearing, including awareness of ACEs and trauma. These parent educators could also serve as navigators, helping parents connect with all the vital services that support families of all income levels and cultures.
“Why do parents need support… doesn’t everyone know how to do it?”
All parents benefit from a menu of parent supports. Some might say that the gold standard in parenting supports is the Nurse-Family Partnership for home visitation. Evaluations of these types of programs demonstrate that when, properly administered with a particular population, they can reduce child maltreatment. It’s data worth poring over. As for other programs, in this chapter we will introduce you to a wide variety of parenting education curricula including: Nurturing Parenting Program, Triple P Positive Parenting and the Strengthening Families Program. In addition to the Nurse-family partnership home visiting model, we will also highlight Healthy Families America and parents as teachers.
In the Center for Parent Supports@100% we take on a very complicated system that involves community, city and county planning with numerous challenges and opportunities. Get ready to be overwhelmed and also inspired. We will guide you through all the steps to put these ideas for increasing access to services into action.
What Families Face
*These are fictionalized profiles based on real New Mexican residents.
Jen and Marie's Story
It’s Time For Heroic Acts
You are about to review approximately twenty projects within 10 innovation areas that can, if done successfully, improve the quality and accessibility of current services. The long-term goal of these innovations and projects is to ensure that 100% of county residents have access to this vital service. Your task is to review all projects, individually and as part of an action team, to identify which one you wish to implement. In the time it takes to enjoy a latte, you can give our menu of innovations a quick read, starting with Innovation #1: Tracking Supply and Demand and ending with Innovation #10: Developing the City Dept. of Parent Supports. These include projects initiated by action teams focused on a county and all the communities within its borders.
Parent support disparities have existed for a very long history
Lack of parent supports is impacting our most vulnerable children and families with consequences that may include adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), trauma and lack of capacity to access vital services.
Why No Support?
Parent Supports Disparities Face Our Families
PARENT SUPPORTS HAS EVERYTHING to do with our quality of family life and child rearing. If parents can access timely, affordable parent supports, families function better and children are healthier. If our access to stable parent supports is threatened, our families can be in serious trouble.
In a world of colliding crises, change and uncertainty, we require a robust parent supports system in every community. The key word is system, because scattered and disconnected public and private agencies, or individuals who offer various forms of parent supports, simply won’t get the job done. We must move beyond isolated programs to a well-connected and networked system of support.
Every county has residents experiencing lack of parent supports and some have segments of the population reporting extreme difficulty accessing these vital services. In times of crisis like a pandemic, access to stable parent supports becomes even more critical.
In the Center for Parent Supports@100% we seek to get to real-world solutions. We will guide you through all the steps needed to put ideas for addressing parent support disparities into action.
Why should accessing support be a challenge?
We asked what gets in the way of engaging with parent empowerment and education programming. The list is important to review and discuss. Some attitudes about parenting support, mostly on the less-than-supportive side, include:
- We expect parents to understand why children act the way they do
- We expect parents to know how to be effective parents
- We expect parents to fix themselves if they face challenges
- We think if parents need help they should just pay for it
- We think that if a single teen has a baby, then she made a bad choice and has to live with it
- Some think that it’s not the job of government to help struggling parents
- Some think the consequences of ACEs are unfortunate, but it’s not really their problem.
Why can’t parents connect with parent support programs?
We have learned from our survey of parents why challenges might exist. Here are a few.
- Lack of knowing what is available and the benefits of parent supports: Some parents are not aware of the variety of programs available and how they can enrich a family.
- Inability to access: The people who need it most are often unable to pay for it, or lack the wherewithal to fill out the paperwork.
- Stigma: Some people think that good parents don’t need help even though every parent can benefit from support. A stigma may keep parents from reaching out for help.
- Lack of providers: In some areas, there are chronic shortages of parent support programs.
An urgent need
As for why parent support is needed, the answers are easy to identify. Without support, some parents may struggle and then adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) can occur. We know from child welfare data that most parents engaged with child protective services will be struggling with one or more of the following challenges: substance misuse, domestic violence and mental health challenges. Most parents have difficulty accessing help. Sometimes services don’t exist. Other times, parents are not aware of them or how to access them. To prevent ACEs and family trauma, each community requires a robust system of parents supports. To learn more about the impact of ACEs on children, students and parents, we recommend you read Anna, Age Eight: The data-driven prevention of childhood trauma and maltreatment.
Fast forward to your reality today: With data from the 100% New Mexico Survey and other sources, you have a good idea about where the need for parent supports may exist in your county, and that’s why it’s difficult to access for both parents and all caregivers. While global, national and state data on parent supports are very interesting and instructive, the real data that informs your work are generated by your 100% New Mexico initiative work diving deep into local neighborhoods. That said, you may be surprised by your survey results and learn that a challenge is far bigger or smaller or more localized than you originally thought.
But wait, google says there are answers!
With literally millions of people reading articles on ending parent support disparities and thousands of foundations, governmental and non-governmental organizations focusing for decades on supporting parents, why is access to affordable parent supports still so prevalent across fifty states? Why might a single mom, showing signs of trauma, be sent home with a newborn without ensuring parent supports are in place? Why might a parent with involvement with child protective services not automatically be linked to quality parent supports? Why do parents working full time not have enough money for parent supports? Why do cities that do offer parent supports somehow miss designing bus routes that take parents to such vital services? In a pandemic, can we afford to have any parent without a way to access parent supports?
We don’t mean to question our good-hearted leaders in political, academic and philanthropic circles, but there appears to be a complete disconnect between those who claim to have answers and the actual implementation of solutions to ensure 100% of our residents are able to access well-thought out parent supports? What are our morals, ethics and values that allow lack of parent supports shown to strengthen families and keep children safe from ACEs to exist amid so much abundance?
What kind of society would allow a policy of benign neglect to doom entire zip codes to lack of parent supports? Why should our most vulnerable parents ever endure anxiety about raising a child? If we ever needed a public and private sector solution to parent supports disparities, this is the moment.
Truly, why are we all not asking in loud public forums, “What is the root cause of parent support disparities impacting our urban and rural communities in the US?”
Parent supports is what we call a “thriving service” (alongside our services for survival). In our 100% New Mexico initiative, we focus on ensuring parents supports across a county, serving all the communities within its borders. Simply put, problems related to parent support disparities can generally stand in the way of a safe childhood and high functioning, self-sufficient family.
Our best bet for addressing a host of challenges related to parent support disparities is ensuring easy access to a quality, comprehensive support at an affordable price or with subsidies for our most vulnerable residents.
What We Know
Our county survey will tell you why families may struggle to access parent support programs. Reasons include lack of programs, cost, no transport to programs, unaware of programs and unfriendly hours.
Who Lacks Support?
Parent Supports Disparities Have Many Causes
With all the research we have on the power of parent supports, and state-of-the-art technology delivering empowering and educational media streaming into homes and mobiles, it seems inconceivable that parents in our country should suffer from lack of affordable parent supports.
In fact, the reality on the ground has been, up to now, difficult to gauge when it comes to specifically measuring parent support disparities in communities. Are lots of families becoming centers for abuse, neglect and trauma due to lack of parent supports? This is an important question, but the real question is, “What do parent supports disparities look like?” A mom with an infant in a stroller waiting at a bus stop may not conjure up images of parent support disparities. However, we don’t know how far the mom must travel to get to support. We don’t know what her home environment is like or if domestic violence is impacting her and the child. We don’t know if she has to spend half a day with various systems to get to a vital service. We don’t know if that mom was just laid off and is trying to find a new way to pay the bills, including car repairs.
What percentage of people lacking access to parent supports is acceptable to you and your elected leaders? How does a pandemic impact the question of how difficult access to affordable parent supports may be in both rural and urban communities? Would you be okay being wait times for accessing parents supports is months or you just don’t qualify? Should any parent, anywhere in your county, face barriers to vital parent supports?
We ask: what are the root causes of Parent Supports Disparities?
“Can’t people just get pay for the services?”
You might be asking, “Lots of parents pay for the support they seek, what can’t others?” Lots of reasons.
- Financial catastrophe: People lose their jobs for a variety of reasons all the time, often due to circumstances outside of their control. A sudden illness, either physical or mental, can also catastrophically knock out an income stream, forcing hard choices at the end of the month.
- Relationship catastrophe: Breakups and divorce throw entire families into an unstable situation, especially if one partner was dependent on the other’s income.
- Low wages: Employers don’t have to pay wages that would allow a full time worker to afford parent supports throughout the month. Unexpected bills or taxes often mean there’s no money at the end of some months for parent supports, including childcare.
- Job availability: There are not enough well-paying jobs for everyone who wants one, hence no money for parent supports and child care.
- Chronic mental health issues: Folks with mental health challenges can’t always hold down full time jobs in order to pay for parent supports and may require specialized parent supports that are too expensive.
- Teens in insecure situations: Teen parents having to leave unsafe home environments often find themselves without the resources to be self-sufficient and access child care.
Data Guide Us
Fast forward to your reality today. With data from the 100% New Mexico Survey and other sources, you have a good idea about where the need for parent supports may exist in your county and that’s why it’s difficult to access for both parents and caregivers. While global, national and state data on parent supports are very interesting and instructive, the real data that informs your work are generated by your 100% New Mexico initiative work diving deep into local neighborhoods. That said, you may be surprised by your survey results and learn that a challenge is far bigger or smaller or more localized than you originally thought.
Ensuring Services: A Local Challenge
People face different levels of hardship and risk during a pandemic directly related to their level of access to the 10 vital services for surviving and thriving. Inaccessible medical care, a lack of housing and food programs, and greatly increased joblessness during the associated economic downturn take a tremendous toll on families. It doesn’t have to be this way.
A Pandemic’s Impact on Services
Vital Questions Require Answers
In so-called “normal” times before the COVID-19 pandemic, health disparities were a fixture of our society. The pandemic has only increased the stresses on the health care systems as well as created more urgency for people to have timely access to prevention and treatment. The most pressing questions for your city, county and state elected leaders and stakeholders include:
- How do we collect, analyze and publish the most timely data to guide prevention strategies?
- How do we ensure enough COVID-19 tests and testing sites?
- How do we ensure providers have the protective equipment required to be safe?
- How do we ensure enough contact tracing?
- How do we prevent homelessness and hunger if people in lock down or quarantine lose their job?
- How do we strengthen mask-wearing and social distancing?
- How do we ensure treatment, both hospital beds and providers?
- How do we distribute the vaccine with buy-in from the public?
- How do we address depression and trauma by ensuring access to behavioral health care?
- How are vital family services for surviving and thriving made accessible to 100% of residents?
As you can see, question #10 places access to ten vital services into a comprehensive state and local strategy to prevent the pandemic. The 100% New Mexico initiative’s framework for ending barriers to services is vital and our work is urgently needed in each county. New Mexico State Senator Bill Soules, PhD, wrote in his Op-ed in the Las Cruces Sun News, “100% New Mexico: A model for COVID-19 Prevention and Treatment”:
“…an effective response to the pandemic goes beyond the medical sector. The countywide response required ten accessible services, allowing families to keep stabilized, supported, fed and housed, in order to comply with the state’s public health guidelines and to endure quarantining, isolating, social distancing and mask-wearing.”
We can happily report that many localities across the nation and globe have successfully addressed parent supports disapirites by ensuring robust programs which may include a combination of public and private sector solutions.
Where on earth?
Where has this challenge been fixed?
Parent Supports@100% is looking at tested parent support solutions, focused on innovations, projects, policies and programs implemented in large and small cities around the world.
If you have come this far, you know that ending parent supports disparities in your community starts with knowing the magnitude of the problem, where precise activities that indicate challenges (high rates of community substance misuse, domestic violence, child maltreatment, unemployment) are experienced and why parents can’t access affordable parent supports in safe neighborhoods to address the problems.
We present a challenge to you, your local business people and government leaders: create a seamless countywide system of parent support programs to make parent support disparities history so every parent gets the timely services they need to thrive.
As you will see below, we have offered only a sliver of what’s out there in terms of innovations that have been shown to reduce parent support disparities and to empower parents to find a path to secure transport. Some models have been with us for decades and are tried, true and evaluated strategies. Some are quite new and merit experimentation and their own evaluation. We do not lack solutions, just the political will to implement them.
Three important frameworks
As we say in 100% Community, we want to reference the data-driven framework called Continuous Quality Improvement and its four phases: assessment, planning, action and evaluation (100% Community, Chapter 29). This four-step process will guide your development of innovations in the arena of parent supports. And, as a reminder, you will want to use Collective Impact (100% Community, Chapter 31) to organize your project and Adaptive Leadership (100% Community, Chapter 30) to determine if the particular challenge you seek to solve is technical, with established protocols for moving forward, or adaptive, where you are entering new uncharted territory without a clear path.
Designing a Countywide System
The past: How did we get to this point of needing family-friendly parent support programs? Who exactly needs services to be “family-friendly” anyway? What are the problems the system is supposed to solve? Why don’t people just figure out the systems on their own? Can’t everyone access transportation to parent supports in a timely manner?
The present (action agenda): Within this subject, we’ve identified ten strategies — called innovation areas — that can be used to tackle the affordable parent supports access problem. Within those we suggest about twenty 100% New Mexico initiative projects that you (yes, you) can take on, thus propelling your community towards accessible parent supports in its many forms.
The future (goals): With enough work on these innovations/projects, we’ll get to the point where Innovation #10 — the creation of a City/County Department of Parent Supports — becomes a reality. With a state-of-the-art system of parent supports in place, 100% of our county’s families could report excellent support and service.
Since we are currently in the present creating the future, your commitment to innovation is most eagerly sought and needed.
Partnerships and teamwork
At the heart of innovation are change agents implementing data-driven projects shown to fix barriers to services.
10 INNOVATIONS TO EXPLORE
CHANGE AGENTS NEEDED NOW
The following innovations represent strategies that have the capacity to increase access to affordable parent support programs to ensure our families are able to get to vital services in order to be healthy, safe and successful.
As you will see as you explore Innovations #1–#10, a countywide system of parent support programs engages all stakeholders within the county’s borders that include data specialists, the private sector, technology experts, public awareness specialists, public and private parent support agencies,, city mayors, council members and county commissioners. Your work will be groundbreaking as it unites leaders in all sectors to achieve one goal: Parent Supports for 100%.