Local governments can invest in this strategy using State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

  • This strategy can help improve educational disparities, promote healthy childhood environments, and address social determinants of health. The U.S. Department of Treasury has indicated that strategies that help achieve these outcomes are eligible for the use of Fiscal Recovery Funds.
  • Investments in this strategy are SLFRF-eligible as long as they are made in qualified census tracts or are designed to assist populations or communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

Program overview

  • Promoting wellbeing in pre-kindergarten: ParentCorps is a model for pre-kindergarten programs that aims to improve children’s academic achievement and mental and physical health. The model has three components: professional development for school staff; the Parenting Program, which helps families support their children’s development; and the Friends School, a classroom-based social-emotional learning program.

  • Designed for school district and Head Start pre-K programs: ParentCorps is typically implemented by a school district or Head Start grantee. ParentCorps, based at NYU Langone Health, trains and assists providers with implementing the program.

  • Training staff to build relationships with families: ParentCorps’ professional development component is designed to help pre-kindergarten staff develop culturally responsive relationships with families and promote students’ wellbeing. During training sessions, school staff examine their beliefs, reflect on challenges that families face, and learn new strategies to engage with children and families.

  • Offering evidence-based strategies to families: The Parenting Program is a 12-week, group-based program typically led by a mental health professional. It aims to share evidence-based parenting practices for promoting early learning and development with parents of pre-kindergarten students (e.g., positive reinforcement, daily routines) in a culturally affirming environment that engages parents as partners.

  • Building students’ social-emotional skills: The Friends School is a classroom-based social-emotional learning program for pre-kindergarten students. Designed to last 12 weeks, the program is implemented by classroom teachers and aims to help children communicate their thoughts and feelings, develop a positive sense of self, and build healthy relationships.

Evidence and impacts


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

Multiple studies with rigorous designs provide some evidence for ParentCorps as a strategy for improving children’s academic achievement and reducing mental health problems.

Best practices in implementation

  • Leverage existing relationships in outreach: Due to stigma related to “parenting programs,” parents may be hesitant to attend ParentCorps. By offering ParentCorps universally to all parents as a part of the pre-K experience and involving school leaders, pre-kindergarten teachers, and other parents in the outreach effort, ParentCorps can demonstrate wide-spread support for the program and increase the likelihood of parental participation.

  • Address racial and cultural differences: Building strong relationships with families and supporting children’s social-emotional well-being are common challenges in early childhood education, but especially in historically disinvested contexts where poverty and structural racism impact educators’ and families’ experiences. To address this challenge, ParentCorps works to honor culture and examine race and racism in professional development sessions.

  • Engage parents as partners: Parenting Program sessions are meant not only to share evidence-based parenting practices, but to build community among parents and support two-way learning that incorporates parents’ perspectives. Parents are invited to share about their culture and how it influences their views on parenting and child development.

  • Reinforce key concepts across the program: By integrating parent- and child-facing components of the program, ParentCorps supports children’s early learning and development across both home and school environments. For example, the Parenting Program teaches parents strategies to help their children manage their emotions, a practice that is reinforced by educators during in-classroom learning as part of Friends School.