Circle of Parents

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About Circle of Parents: What We Do

How We Operate
To sustain and enhance these achievements for families, the organizations and parent leaders affiliated with the national network pool resources, including cash, goods, services, and/or expertise, to develop, enhance and expand Circle of Parents support groups. The members represent a diversity of experiences and backgrounds and include parents, administrators, community organizers, management and program services staff and a cross-section of human services professions. Honoring principles of mutual respect, equal contribution and shared leadership, each member:

  • Actively participates in the work of Circle of Parents and shares responsibility for its success; with member state representatives serving on at least one of the standing committees.
  • Shares resources, both human and material, with other members;
  • Substantially contributes to strategic planning, problem solving, implementation and evaluation of Circle of Parents' activities and projects through participation on committees; and
  • Substantially contributes to the growth and development of Circle of Parents through involvement in special projects, sharing data and information about program outcomes, participating in collaborative ventures with other national family support organizations, and engaging in advocacy and development efforts to promote the work of Circle of Parents.
We have created several national products to support their work. These include:
  • National standards and principles for self-help support groups
  • Grant-making system to support local program development and innovative initiatives
  • Quality assurance processes for state network development, including a best practices self-assessment tool
  • National group facilitator and children's program manuals
  • Training curricula for trainers of support group facilitators and parent leadership development
  • Parent handbooks, tip sheets and outreach brochures (in Spanish and English)
  • Training and technical assistance systems, including a website, listserv, technical assistance conference calls and site visits and an electronic resource library
  • Parent leadership development materials,
  • Parent leadership training curricula and materials, including a video conceptualized by and featuring parent leaders
  • Father engagement and involvement training curricula and materials
What’s Our History
Circle of Parents was originally created as a project funded by the Office on Child Abuse and Neglect (OCAN). The project brought together a wide variety of expertise and years of successful program delivery among parent leaders, 17 child abuse prevention and family support organizations, known as the National Family Support Roundtable, and Prevent Child Abuse America (PCA America). After growing to a network of 29 statewide and regional organizations and 12 parent leaders, Circle of Parents® incorporated in April 2004 and was launched as a non-profit organization in October 2004. Circle of Parents continues to partner with Prevent Child Abuse America and other national family support organizations to fulfill its mission.

Circle of Parents was also supported for over five years by the Office of Juvenile Delinquency and Prevention (OJJDP) to develop and expand programs for underserved communities and populations, including those determined to be at higher risk of victimization such as families of children birth to three years old and Alaska Native, American Indian and African American children.

Circle of Parents implemented a comprehensive training, technical assistance and community access project to aid local home visiting programs in the provision of support and education to new and expectant fathers from 2006 - 2011. Supported by the Office of Family Assistance, the mission of Partners for Kids: United Hands Make the Best Families emphasized the importance of healthy father-child relationships, parental balance among mothers and fathers, and family support services that are both mother and father-friendly. The project was implemented in partnership with the National Fatherhood Initiative, the Conscious Fathering Program™ of Parent Trust for Washington Children, Prevent Child Abuse America and Leslie Starsoneck, a domestic violence expert from North Carolina. Initially targeting Healthy Families America and Parents as Teachers programs, Partners for Kids expanded to other home visiting programs, such as Nurse Family Partnership, Healthy Start, and Early Head Start.

Currently, Circle of Parents serves as a resource partner for the FRIENDS National Resource Center, a program of the Children’s Bureau. In this role, Circle of Parents is responsible for developing curricula and implementing training and technical assistance activities that teach community based child abuse prevention (CBCAP) organizations in every state the values, benefits and approaches to engaging parents in family support program and policy development. Most of the CBCAP organizations are either the state child welfare agency or the children’s trust fund. Using the Parent Leadership Ambassador Training (PLAT) program, on-site TA visits and TA teleconference calls, parent leaders and professional have been successfully trained in almost every state.

Where We're Heading
Moving forward, Circle of Parents seeks to advance its capacity building and training and technical assistance work by focusing on the following priority areas:
  • Advocating for increased parent involvement in program and policy development by offering parent leadership training to parents, practitioners and a variety of family support organizations throughout the country.
  • Providing ongoing training, technical assistance and networking among Circle of Parents programs to promote continuous quality improvement and development.
  • Implementing creative initiatives that ensure Circle of Parents programs are accessible for anyone in a parenting role regardless of their relationship to the child.
  • Growing the number of children’s programs, viewed as a vital component of the Circle of Parents’ support groups.
  • Advancing efforts to build evidence for the effectiveness of the Circle of Parents program model.
  • Collaborating with other family support organizations and initiatives that align with our model of family support, consensus decision-making, collaborative leadership and shared responsibility among parents and professionals.
Governed by a voluntary Board of Directors. Its operations are dependent upon the contribution of its member organizations and the National Parents as Leaders Team.

JUne 2013

¹Treichel C.J., Bjournson C., Dando, K, Hagel H, Siegel E, Skillingstad C, Thompson D. Family Support Network Parent Outcomes Study. Prevent Child Abuse Minnesota. August 2002
² Falconer MK, Brunger R. Circle of Parents Support Group Evaluation Report. The Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida. January 2005
³Gay K. The Circle of Parents Program: Increasing Social Support for Parents and Caregiver. North Carolina Medical Journal. September/October 2005

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