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Child Parent Enrichment Project (CPEP)

Program Model Overview

Last Updated

April 2012

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Theoretical Model

CPEP was based on the theory that enhancing mother-child relationships, social and material support, goal setting, and problem solving can reduce the risk of child abuse. Positive mother-child relationships were seen as a byproduct of a healthy pregnancy and labor, an overall feeling of wanting the child, and knowing that caring for the child will be manageable. Having the emotional, informational, and material resources that often accompany a social support network were thought to lessen the risk of child maltreatment. The ability to set goals and solve problems could help parents manage the difficulties of infant caregiving. Implementation of CPEP was based on a task-centered approach in which parents identified and completed tasks to achieve their goals.

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Program Model Components

CPEP services consisted of home visits with paraprofessional parenting consultants. During home visits, consultants and parents discussed tasks associated with the parent’s goals for caring for herself and the child and recorded tasks that had been performed. Tasks could be completed during or between home visits, and in the parent’s home or within the community. There were three types of tasks: parent-focused, consultant-focused, and shared. Parent-focused tasks were completed by the parents alone and could include preparing one clean room for the baby to come home to; visiting a thrift shop to obtain a crib; visiting the labor room; and using a respite care program one-half day per week after the child is born. Tasks led by parenting consultants, either during or between visits, included modeling positive parenting and home care skills; advocating on a client’s behalf; and discussing the care of a colicky baby. Typical joint tasks were driving together to a church to pick up food and repairing an appliance together.

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Target Population

CPEP targeted pregnant women at risk for child abuse. Mothers were eligible for referral to the program if they exhibited two or more risk factors on a nine-item checklist, although community professionals had considerable discretion when making referrals. The checklist included underuse of needed community services; a criminal or mental illness record; mother previously suspected of abuse; low self-esteem; chaotic lifestyle; lack of social support from father or family; low intelligence or poor health of mother; unplanned or unwanted pregnancy; and previous or ongoing abuse of mother.

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Where to Find Out More

Richard P. Barth, Ph.D., M.S.W.
University of Maryland, School of Social Work
Phone: (410) 706-7794
Email: rbarth@ssw.umaryland.edu

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