Pediatrics Supporting Parents
Pediatricians partnering with parents to promote social and emotional development.
This initiative has the ambitious long-term goal of improving pediatric primary care to foster social and emotional development in the same way that it focuses on physical health and cognitive development. Pediatrics Supporting Parents' ultimate vision is to help ensure that all children from birth to age 3 receive the supports they need to achieve kindergarten readiness and positive life outcomes.
The early years of life (birth to age three) represent a unique opportunity for pediatricians to work with families to support children’s healthy development. This is a time when families play a big role in their children's social and emotional growth. It's also a time when pediatricians can have a big impact on families—during these early years, families are especially involved, curious and open to new ideas.
We can make the most of this period by working at the family and pediatrics practice level to help pediatricians foster interactions between parents and children that support healthy social and emotional growth. And by focusing on at-risk children, we can help all families have access to the programs and resources needed to support their children’s early development.
Keep scrolling, or use these quick links, to learn more.
November 2017 – April 2020
- Who: 18 pediatric practices across the nation
- Funder: Phase one: The Silicon Valley Community Foundation Pediatrics Supporting Parents Fund; Phase two: Donors like you
- Our Role: Leveraging its background in improvement science, NICHQ will provide oversight and technical assistance to support the pediatric practices as they test strategies, collect and analyze data, and report on findings that lead to sustainable improvement, which ultimately can be scaled nationally.
The learning community sites are provided technical assistance and an online collaborative workplace to promote continuous communication, and a data dashboard to capture shared measures and track progress toward the common agenda. Click on a state in green to see the participating pediatric and family practice sites. Or view a list of all sites.Below is a list of all participating pediatric and family practice sites. Or view the map.Below is a list of all participating pediatric and family practice sites:
- Irvington: Mostellar Medical Center
- Anchorage: Alaska Center for Pediatrics
- Sylmar: Northeast Valley Health Corporation
- Shelbyville: MHP Pediatrics
- Bastrop: Morehouse Community Medical Centers, Inc.
- Baltimore: Dr. Ken Tellerman - Pediatric
- Boston: Boston Children's Primary Care
- Blasdell: Neighborhood Health Center
- Brooklyn: Bishop Orris G. Walker, Jr. Health Care Center
- Buffalo: Main Pediatrics
- Buffalo: Niagara Street Pediatrics
- Buffalo: Jericho Community Health Center
- Buffalo: Towne Garden Pediatric
- Troy: CapitalCare Pediatrics Troy
- Conover: Unifour Pediatrics, PA
- Salem: Childhood Health Associates of Salem
- Park City: Wasatch Pediatrics
- Roanoke: Carilion Children's Pediatric Medicine
Why Social Emotional Development?
Hear from the experts.
During the early years of life, when neurons are rapidly firing, children’s social emotional skills are developing right alongside their cognitive capabilities. These skills are critical for their healthy future because they help children experience and express human emotions, empathize and get along with others, and build healthy relationships. In this short video, four experts define and explore social emotional development, and the impact of early relationships and experiences.
Primary Driver 1: Prepared Family System
- Secondary Driver 1: Families educated and activated around the social and emotional development and age-appropriate expectations during well child visits.
- Secondary Driver 2: Behaviors that promote social and emotional development modeled during well child visits.
- Secondary Driver 3: Support of primary caregivers' well-being and mental health.
- Secondary Driver 4: Designed promotion and anticipatory guidance into multiple facets of the well child visits.
- Secondary Driver 6: Family engagement with change & improvement processes—primary caregivers as team members.
Primary Driver 2: Systematic Observation, Surveillance, Screening & Assessment
- Secondary Driver 1: Behavioral and developmental screening using validated tools during the well child visit.
- Secondary Driver 2: Assessment of interactions and relationship between primary caregiver-child during well child visit.
- Secondary Driver 3: Assessment of family strengths and risks.
- Secondary Driver 4: Assessment and support of primary caregivers' well-being and mental health.
Primary Driver 3: Referral to Needed Supports
- Secondary Driver 1: Care coordination and navigation.
- Secondary Driver 3: Development of community alliances and cooperative relationships.
Primary Driver 4: Prepared Care Team
- Secondary Driver 1: Ongoing learning for the care team and staff.
- Secondary Driver 2: Supports for clinics to address burnout, stress/fatigue and retention issues.
- Primary Caregiver: The biological parent or an individual who has established a primary caregiver-child relationship.
- Primary caregiver-child relationship: A selective, meaningful, and significant psychological relationship between a child and their dominant caregiver that develops through mutual interactions and persists over time.
What Does It Take and Who Do We Need?
Improving pediatric care will be a long-term journey that involves partnering with key decision-makers. By the end of this journey, we hope to have:
- Parents and families who are educated about social and emotional growth needs and can demand best practices and resources for their children.
- Healthcare systems and practitioners who believe they have a role to play in social and emotional development, and will commit to investing in training and changing the way they practice.
- Public and private insurance payers, particularly Medicaid, who reimburse for these services, ensuring feasibility and incentivizing healthcare practitioners to implement these strategies.
- Existing programs that support social and emotional development in and around the pediatric channels and reach the children and families in need of additional resources.
- Communities with city leaders who champion the needs of children and families, and provide local, tailored resources to support community needs.
- Policymakers who support and incentivize programs that elevate the importance of social and emotional development in young children.
- Philanthropy by funders committed to innovation that moves towards systems change, both in healthcare systems and in testing new payment models.
What Will We Uncover
Fundamentally, this is a learning investment to unlock an understanding of what works and is scalable. By the end of this first phase of work, we hope to have uncovered answers to the following questions:
- What are promising strategies for helping pediatric settings improve children’s social and emotional development, and parent-child bonding?
- How can these strategies be implemented efficiently and effectively for different populations, particularly low-income families and communities of color, in various settings?
- What community infrastructure or conditions appear to enable strategies to be most effective for different populations and in different contexts?
Read this report about promoting social-emotional development in primary care.
Strengthening Parent-Child Relationships Through the Well-Child Visit
Strong parent-child relationships during the early years of life not only foster healthy brain development, but also protect the brain against the harmful effects of toxic stress that might arise from adverse childhood experiences. Here, learn about a program that pediatric health professionals can integrate into their visits to enhance healthy parent-child relationships, and support children’s cognitive and social and emotional development.
“The Act of Making a Referral is Not Enough”
Universal developmental screenings can help identify children at risk for developmental delays and connect them with needed supports. An effective screening process relies on successful referrals though—if there is no follow-up with the referred child, families can never access the supports the child may need, and that child may ultimately fall through the cracks. Here, Dipesh Navsaria, MPH, MSLIS, MD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health provides five steps to build a referral process that works.
Children’s Social and Emotional Development Starts with Co-Regulation
Before children learn how to make a friend or resolve a conflict, they first need to develop the capacity to self-regulate their emotions. This is a critical skill to support social and emotional development. Here, Gerard Costa, PhD, the founding director of the Center for Autism and Early Childhood Mental Health at Montclair State University, explains why pediatric health professionals need to engage families in conversations about self-regulation, and he offers a resource for inspiring those conversations.