[Pictured left to right] Executive Director Karen Scott; Principal Researcher Ignacio Navarro, PhD,; Deputy Director Systems and Impact Scott McGrath; Section Manager, Evaluation and Impact Wendy Lee, PsyD, Evaluation Staff Analysts II Peter Tawadros and Ray Salamat.

In a first for First 5 San Bernardino (F5SB), a research study based on one of the organization’s initiatives was recently published highlighting the importance parenting education programs play in preventing child abuse and neglect.

Featured in the Journal of Public Child Welfare’s June 15, 2022, edition, the paper titled “Strengths-based case management” provides evidence of the impact of implementing the Nurturing Parenting Program (NPP) combined with structured case management using a tool known as the Family Development Matrix (FDM); a product of Matrix Outcome Model Inc.

The Family and Community Support and Partnership, a child abuse prevention strategy launched by F5SB in 2015, uses a model with two components:  parenting education and structured case management.  This model provides a minimum of 16 parenting education sessions in groups or individual settings paired with structured case management.  “Working with the family, providers use the FDM to rank the status level on each of the 19 indicators, including basic household necessities, community resource knowledge, adult education and employment among others,” said Scott McGrath, deputy director, systems and impact.

Research professionals and F5SB evaluation staff connected to the FDM saw an opportunity to conduct a study using both sets of data from two different models, one using FDM and one not using it to determine if the combination of NPP and FDM enhanced learning and improved outcomes for participants.  “We are very pleased with the study findings validating how parent education and support contribute to the protection of children at risk of experiencing maltreatment,” concluded McGrath.

During F5SB’s Commission meeting help September 14, 2022, Ignacio Navarro, PhD, the principal researcher of the study and professor of research methods and policy analysis at California State University, Monterey Bay, detailed the findings of the study which used a pre-post comparison design from the First 5 San Bernardino program for the years 2012-2017.  “We found that the NPP outcome measures from the Adult-Adolescent Parenting Inventory (AAIP) improved substantially after the FDM was implemented,” Navarro said.  “Using a holistic approach via case management, this research experience you have created will help other county commissions understand that parent education works, but works best when coming from an integrated approach,” Navarro concluded.

To receive a referral to parenting support near you, call First 5 San Bernardino at 909.386.7706 or via email at First5SanBernardino@cfc.sbcounty.gov

The following service providers deserve accolades for their participation in the study and for the crucial work they do to improve the lives of children and families:  Bear Valley Mom and Dad Project, Chino Valley Unified School District, El Sol Neighborhood Education Center, Moses House Ministries, Reach Out and Walden Family Services