Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect for 30 Years


Nurturing Parenting Programs

Evidence based programs with 25 years of validation.

Nurturing Parenting Programs are evidence based programs for the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect. With 25 years of validation, SAMHSA (Substance Abuse, Mental health Services Administration) and NREPP (National Registry of Effective Programs and Practices) along with program clearing houses at the state level have recognized the Nurturing Programs as effective programs for the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect.

Prevention and Intervention

Nurturing Programs are designed to meet the assessed needs of families experiencing varying levels of dysfunction. Agencies can offer these programs to families in need of treatment for child abuse and neglect; offer interventions for families at risk for child maltreatment, or can offer educational support groups and resources for families desiring to improve their parenting skills. The programs are offered in group settings, in home settings and in combination group and home visit formats.

Negative Parenting Patterns

Nurturing parenting instruction is based on the five patterns of parenting that have been proven to contribute to the maltreatment of children:

  • Inappropriate developmental expectations of children
  • Parental lack of empathy of children’s needs
  • Strong belief in the use of corporal punishment as a means of discipline
  • Reversing parent-child roles so parents can satisfy their needs and wants
  • Oppressing children’s power and independence by demanding strict obedience to parental demands.

Research and Use

Over 25 years of research has shown that parents replace their abusive and neglecting parenting patterns with appropriate nurturing parenting patterns; families attending Nurturing Programs have a higher than average rate of attendance and program completion; parents use learned nurturing parenting patterns after completing the program as documented through home visits; and have low rates of re-abuse six months after leaving the program.

Nurturing Programs are utilized nationally and internationally by an array of agencies serving families. They are also use in conjunction with inventory assessments that help professionals determine the most effective parenting programs to use.

6 Assumptions

The philosophy of Nurturing Parenting emphasizes the importance of raising children in a warm, trusting and caring household. It is founded on the belief that children who are cared for develop the capacity to trust, care and respect themselves, other people and living creatures and the environment.

The programs are based on the following six assumptions:

1. Family System

The family is a system. Involvement of all family members is essential to change the system. Parents and children in the Programs participate together in group or home-based interventions.

2. Empathy

Empathy is the single most desirable quality in nurturing parenting. Empathy is the ability to be aware of the needs of others and to value those needs. When empathy is high among family members, abuse is low. The two are essentially incompatible. The Programs seek to develop empathy in all family members.

3. Parenting Continuum

Parenting exists on a continuum. To some degree, all families experience healthy and unhealthy interactions. Building positive, healthy interactions between family members is an important key to reducing family violence.

4. Learning

Learning is both cognitive and affective. To be effective, education or intervention must engage the learner on both the cognitive (knowledge) level and the affective (feeling) level.

5. Feeling Good

Children who feel good about themselves are more likely to become nurturing parents. Children who feel good about themselves are more capable of being nurturing sons and daughters and of becoming nurturing parents than children with low self-worth. A major goal of the Programs is to help both parents and children increase their self-esteem and develop positive self-concepts.

6. Happy and Healthy

No one truly prefers abusive interactions. Given a choice, all families would rather engage in happy, healthy interactions than abusive, problematic ones such as belittling, hitting, and shaming.


Family Development Resources

or 1-800-688-5822