Ready Set Parent: Evaluation of a Parenting Education Program in New York State

By Nicole M. Tomasello, Mansoor Abul Fazl Kazi, Shraddha Prabhu, Steven J. Harvey and Barbara Rittner.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Parent and family characteristics often impact a child’s development and well-being. Due to this impact, many parenting programs have been developed to enhance parenting abilities. The purpose of this paper is to present a real-time evaluation of a community-based parenting education program in Western New York. The program is provided by Every Person Influences Children (EPIC), an agency that offers a variety of workshops for a diverse population of parents, and Baker Victory Services. The paper focuses specifically on the impact of the Ready Set Parent! program on parent/family outcomes and implications for parenting program practices. The program aim was to educate parents about tuning into and playing with children, fostering self-esteem, setting limits, and promoting literacy. The realist evaluation paradigm and a repeated measures design were utilized to investigate the patterns between client-specific factors (family factors), the intervention variables, and the outcomes. Statistical techniques, such as t-tests and binary logistic regression, were used to identify patterns in the data and provide a prediction of the odds of achieving a given outcome in a particular circumstance. Results indicated that parents improved significantly on the outcome of parental self efficacy. Also, scores increased on the Family Relations/Cohesion scale which measures communication styles, family interactions, and flexibility. Factors associated with this increase included parent gender, level of school completed, disability status, and the receipt of financial assistance. Results provide preliminary evidence that the intervention had a positive impact on parent outcomes. In addition, information regarding the characteristics associated with parent outcomes allows practitioners and program developers to make appropriate changes to interventions and focus especially on the parents with the greatest risk factors.

Keywords: Parent Education, Parent Training, Parent Outcomes, Family Interventions

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 5, Issue 9, pp.1-14. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 685.836KB).

Nicole M. Tomasello

Director of Research and Evaluation, Research, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York, USA

Nicole Tomasello’s research endeavors have included quantitative evaluations of the parenting programs offered by Every Person Influences Children (EPIC) in Buffalo, New York; the housing and juvenile justice programs in Moray Council, Scotland; and the food and exercise, school counseling and anti-bullying programs in Manchester, England. In addition, she is conducting research on the effectiveness of a school-to-work transition program for adolescent students with behavioral and learning disabilities, and is examining the impact of the national early intervention program, for infants and toddlers with disabilities, on family and student outcomes.

Dr. Mansoor Abul Fazl Kazi

Director, Program Evaluation Center, School of Social Work, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York, USA

Mansoor Kazi, PhD is the Director of the Program Evaluation Center, University at Buffalo (USA) and Reader at University of Huddersfield (United Kingdom). Dr. Kazi has 18 years of experience in evaluation, and his expertise is in developing strategies for evaluation of practice, and in particular, the use of realist evaluation investigating what interventions work and in what circumstances (Kazi, 2003). This strategy was applied successfully in the evaluation of the UK government’s Lancashire Children’s Fund projects (preventative projects for children and families worth $8 millions a year) and in several evaluations in New York State, including Chautauqua County’s mental health programs (SAMHSA grant of $9 millions). He was also a consultant for the government research organization STAKES in Finland.

Shraddha Prabhu

Doctoral Student, School of Social Work, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York, USA

Steven J. Harvey

Executive Director, WNY Consortium of Higher Education, WNY Consortium of Higher Education, Hamburg, New York, USA

Steven J. Harvey, Ph.D. is the Executive Director of the WNY College Connection, an initiative of the WNY Higher Education Consortium that seeks to increase collaboration between area colleges and universities as well as to attract, engage, and retain students to the WNY area. Formerly the Vice President of Research and Program Funding for EPIC, Dr. Harvey holds a Ph.D. in Social Foundations of Education. In past positions, Dr. Harvey oversaw evaluation, research, and program funding efforts and has raised over $16,500,000 for the WNY agencies. He has conducted research in the areas of parenting, character education, masculinity development, and student readiness and is published in a variety of educational, peer-review journals. In addition, Dr. Harvey is an adjunct faculty member in the Foundations Department at Buffalo State College. In 2008, Dr. Harvey was named to the Buffalo Business First’s 40 Under 40, in 2007 received a Buffalo State College Outstanding Teacher Award, is a Buffalo Ambassador for the Buffalo Niagara Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, and an active member of Leadership Buffalo.

Barbara Rittner

Associate Dean for External Affairs and PhD Program Director, School of Social Work, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York, USA

Barbara Rittner spent 20 years as a community-based social worker and administrator in child welfare, health, and mental health settings. Rittner publishes primarily on at risk children and the long term consequences of abuse and neglect. Since completing her doctorate, she has been on faculty at the University of Nevada-Reno, the University of Georgia, and the University at Buffalo where she is the associate dean for external affairs and director of the PhD program.

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