Family Foundations

Program basics

  • Education and skills-based program for first-time expectant parents, intended to improve their parenting knowledge and comfort levels
  • Consists of eight sessions administered by personnel in childbirth education departments at local hospitals
  • Offers self-paced and self-study classes, adapted for the COVID-19 era
  • Couples-focused, specifically designed for two-parent households

Strength of evidence

Evidence level: Proven (highest tier)

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Proven (highest tier)

Ranked as having the highest level of evidence by the California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; the second-highest level of evidence by Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development, the National Institute of Justice


Target population

Parents with children under the age of 5

Program cost

$50 per participant

Implementation locations

  • Nationwide

Dates active

Outcomes and impact

  • Better parenting teamwork and better inter-parent relationships
  • Improved parenting sensitivity and warmth
  • Increased child self-regulation, social competence, and academic competence
  • Lowered rates of preterm birth
  • Less parental stress, depression in mothers
  • Less conflict between parents and harsh parenting

Keys to successful implementation

  • To reinforce program content, sessions should occur at two different points, with the first set occurring in the fifth or sixth month of pregnancy and the second about six months after delivery
  • Regular facilitator training, curriculum revision, and incorporation of participant feedback help ensure high-quality implementation and fidelity
  • Delivering the program through childbirth education departments at local hospitals helps provide a non-stigmatizing environment and structure for new parents
  • Partnerships with community-based and religious organizations can increase enrollment and persistence
  • Participants can be recruited through OBGYN offices, health clinics, social media, community and religious organizations, high schools, and home visiting programs
  • Messaging and recruitment should include a strong appeal around optimizing children's health and development, reducing parental stress and postpartum depression, and reducing adverse birth outcome
  • Program materials that reflect community demographics and are delivered in the appropriate language help parents more readily adopt knowledge and skills

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