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 promote healthy childhood environments and help address educational disparities. 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

  • Manualized, skills-based parent training program for caregivers of children 0-5
  • Brief parenting program (18 one-hour sessions) that addresses parent-child interactions, home safety, and child health
  • Highly structured but flexible in its delivery (depends on parent’s initial skills and skill acquisition)
  • Program has been shown to have specific benefit for families with risk factors for child maltreatment

Evidence and impacts


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

  • SafeCare increases positive parent-child interactions, reduces hazards in families’ homes, and improves how parents care for their children’s health
  • Positive outcomes compared to services as usual or no services on several outcomes, including reduced parental depression, reduced future child maltreatment reports, improved program engagement and completion, and increased program satisfaction
  • Seen as culturally relevant by diverse groups including Latino and American Indian populations

Best practices in implementation

  • SafeCare Providers are assigned a SafeCare Coach that supports them and conducts quality assurance, a requirement for SafeCare delivery. Coaches observe Providers’ sessions, score fidelity, and provide feedback and consultation.
  • Full-time SafeCare Providers have a caseload of 10-15 families, which allows them to provide ample attention and care to each client.
  • SafeCare includes one-on-one home visits between Providers and families.
  • SafeCare sessions are typically conducted weekly. Session delivery is no more than twice a week and no less than every two weeks to optimize skill acquisition and retention.
  • Parenting skills are taught through the process of: (1) explaining the skills and why they are important; (2) demonstrating how to do each skill; (3) having parents practice the skills; and (4) providing positive and corrective feedback to parents on their use of skills.
  • SafeCare is assessment driven to provide objective observation of parent’s skills. Assessments are conducted in every session.
  • To complete a module, a parent must demonstrate Mastery (100% correct use of skills) or Success (marked improvement as compared to Baseline Assessment).
  • Program materials can be made more accessible by reducing technical language, incorporating more pictures, adding culturally relevant examples, and by matching families to home visitors based on language, race, and ethnicity.