Implementing ParentChild+® Core Model

Model implementation summary last updated: 2019

The information in this implementation report reflects feedback, if provided, from this model’s developer as of the above date. The description of the implementation of the model(s) here may differ from how the model(s) was implemented in the manuscripts reviewed to determine this model’s evidence of effectiveness. Inclusion in the implementation report does not mean the practices described meet the HHS criteria for evidence of effectiveness. Please see the Effectiveness button on the left for more information about any research on the effectiveness of the model, including any version(s) of the model with effectiveness research. Versions of the model that are described in the Adaptations and enhancements section of this implementation report may include (1) versions that were identified by the model’s developer and (2) versions that have been implemented by researchers and have manuscripts that HomVEE rated high or moderate, but that are not supported by the model’s developer.

Model overview

Theoretical approach

Building on the socio-cultural theory of Vygotsky, Bruner’s theory of language symbolism, research on the importance of play for toddlers, and attachment theory, the ParentChild+ Core Model focuses on increasing positive parent-child verbal and non-verbal interaction and building positive parenting skills. Increasing these interactions and skills is designed to promote children’s social-emotional and cognitive development, including the development of early literacy and language skills, such as receptive and expressive language.

Home visitors work to develop a strong relationship with and become trusted advisors to the families. They aim to empower parents to support their children’s learning. Rather than directly instructing parents, they model interactions with the child and reinforce learning through intensive services.

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Implementation support

The ParentChild+® model focuses on developing caregiver-child attachment and can be used one-on-one with parents and with family child care providers responsible for group care. (ParentChild+ was formerly known as the Parent-Child Home Program.) The information in this profile describes the ParentChild+ Core Model, the version of ParentChild+ used with parents in the home.

The ParentChild+ National Center provides comprehensive implementation assistance and training for ParentChild+ Core Model site supervisors, coordinators, and evaluators, and conducts regular certification or re-certification of all local ParentChild+ Core Model replication sites. The National Center coordinates and supports internal and external research and evaluation activities. It also helps local program sites with outreach, government relations, and identification of funding sources to support implementation of the model.

The National Center conducts regular certification and re-certification of all local ParentChild+ Core Model replication sites according to the criteria and schedule laid out in each site’s replication agreement, to determine whether the site is operating within the ParentChild+ Core Model guidelines and is providing quality services to families. The National Center also provides ongoing support and technical assistance to all ParentChild+ Core Model sites and staff.

The ParentChild+ Core Model has regional coordinators in California, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington; and certified regional trainers in Florida and South Carolina.

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Intended population

The ParentChild+ Core Model serves families with multiple risk factors when the children are 2 and 3 years old. The model is designed for families with the following risk factors: low income, low levels of education, geographic isolation, teen parent and single-parent households, immigrant or refugee status, and literacy and/or language barriers.

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Targeted outcomes

The ParentChild+ Core Model aims to promote children’s social-emotional development and cognitive competencies by increasing and enhancing the quantity and quality of parent-child verbal and non-verbal interaction (including enhanced vocabulary, a reduction in discouragements from parents, and an increase in encouragements used by parents).

The ParentChild+ Core Model also aims to connect families to other educational and social service resources in the community, as needed. Referrals can be made to early intervention services, adult education services, domestic violence programs, housing and nutrition supports, and mental health services, among other supports for families. All ParentChild+ Core Model program sites help families register their graduating children for preschool and/or child care.

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Model services

The ParentChild+ Core Model includes (1) twice-weekly home visits that must always include the primary caregiver (the primary caregiver is most often a parent but may also be a grandparent or other relative or foster parent) and may also include additional adult caregivers and siblings; (2) once a week distribution of books and educational toys to create a library in the family’s home; (3) referrals/connections to other social supports and educational services for the program child and other family members; and (4) assistance with transition to the next educational step for the program child.

During home visits, visitors facilitate and model playful verbal interactions between parents and children using the social-emotional and cognitive curriculum. Home visitors are encouraged to model verbal interactions such as providing information (for example, “This is a circle” and “That’s the yellow school bus”); eliciting information (for example, “Where is the yellow school bus going?”); and verbalizing social interaction (for example, inviting participation, taking turns, or following the parent’s and child’s lead).

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Model intensity and length

The ParentChild+ Core Model requires that participating families receive twice-weekly 30-minute home visits for 46 weeks, for a total of 92 visits. The 46-week program is divided into two cycles of 46 home visits over 23 weeks each. The two cycles are meant to provide flexibility for program sites to determine how to implement the entire 46 weeks of programming based on the local context and needs of the site. Program sites operating within a school district typically follow the academic calendar and take a break over the summer before beginning the next cycle. However, program sites sponsored by community-based organizations may implement the two cycles without a break or with only a short break between cycles, and they may offer rolling enrollment rather than having all families start in the fall.

Families participate in the two cycles over a one- to two-year period when their child is 2 and 3 years old.

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The ParentChild+ Core Model currently operates in 15 states (California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin).

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Adaptations and enhancements

Program sites may be allowed to make modifications to the ParentChild+ Core Model for particular populations, such as homeless families. Modifications may include changing the location or the length of the visit. The modifications must be approved in advance by the National Center.

In addition to home visits, program sites may also choose to offer families supplementary activities such as voluntary play groups, parent workshops, or field trips.

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Implementation notes

The information contained on this page was last updated in August 2019. Recommended further reading lists the sources for this information. In addition, the information contained in this profile was reviewed for accuracy by The Parent-Child Home Program National Center in February 2019. HomVEE reserves the right to edit the profile for clarity and consistency.

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