Parents are key: Eliada Homes strengthens engagement with families

Eliada's Child Development Center invites parents to join their child at a special free play-day at the Annual Corn Maze, September 2013.
Eliada's Child Development Center invites parents to join their child at a special free play-day at the Annual Corn Maze, September 2013.

By Tami Ruckman, Eliada Foundation

In all of Eliada’s programs one can find a strong emphasis on family involvement. According to Eliada’s President and CEO Mark Upright, “Eliada strives to serve the ‘whole’ child, and that means serving the entire family and engaging the communities our families are embedded in.” 

Eliada will soon be implementing the Triple P-Positive Parenting Program. Thanks to a grant funded initiative that is providing training to professionals in Buncombe County, Eliada’s Child Development and Foster Care staff will be accredited to provide parent-centered programming — a new and free resource for parents in the community. The program ranges from seminars on general parenting tips and common parenting problems, to one-on-one and group support for addressing serious behavior problems and complex family and mental health issues. The range of approaches Triple P provides gives greater access to all parents in the community regardless of scheduling issues, language barriers, level of education, or actual parenting experience. And for Eliada, parent engagement and working with young families is also a critical preventative tool that helps families avoid needing Eliada’s more intensive services like residential and day treatment.

According to Eliada’s Child Development Director, Tracey McCrain, “With Triple-P’s versatility we will be able to help all parents seeking guidance to become more positive and empowered in their parenting.” 

Once accredited, McCrain & Foster Care Director Kelly Shusko will be able to provide one-on-one consultation to parents and help target a specific behavior issue with their child or within the family. Two of Eliada’s Child Development teachers are already accredited to do family interventions. They can consult with a primary care provider and hold small group sessions with parents and the child to help address the behavior. 

Eliada’s Foster Care staff will also soon be accredited to work with foster families using Triple P strategies. According to Kelly Shusko, “We plan to use this program as part of the shared parenting component in foster care, which pairs the biological family and the foster parents together to create consistent expectation for the child in our care and consistent caregiver responses.” 

The Triple P-Positive Parenting Program has over 30 years of ongoing research to support its approach. The program gives parents simple strategies to aid them in managing their child’s behavior and build strong healthy family relationships. The program is adaptable and flexible, allowing Eliada to shape and implement components to best serve the needs of its parents no matter the age of the child, or family background or circumstance. 

McCrain and Shusko will be offering parents three special seminars this summer to Eliada parents, foster parents, and community members.

“Power of Positive Parenting” will be held on June 12th
“Raising Confident, Competent Children” will be held on July 10th
“Raising Resilient Children” will be held on August 14th
 

To learn more about Triple P and to sign up to attend the seminars please contact Kelly Shusko at kshusko@eliada.org or 828-254-5356

Parents who have attended seminars in Buncombe County are already spreading the word and are excited that the seminars themselves are just a jumping off point. Now they can try the parenting techniques on their own and return for additional one-on-one and group consultation to hone their new skills even further! 

Founded in 1906, Eliada Homes, Inc. is a non-profit agency serving the children and families of Western North Carolina. Originally a refuge for women and children and later maintained as an orphanage, Eliada’s services now include Residential and Day Treatment for high risk children and adolescents; Child Development Center services, including Day Care, Summer Camp and School Age care; Foster Care and Therapeutic Foster Care; Vocational and Transitional Living services; Therapeutic Recreation featuring TASC (Therapeutic Animal Stewardship Cooperative) and NYPUM (National Youth Project Using Minibikes); and Community Support services. Our mission is simple: Helping Children Succeed. Learn more about Eliada’s history and services by visiting Eliada.org.

Eliada’s Child Development Center currently serves close to 200 children from birth through middle school with an infant classroom, day care, NC-PreK, afterschool program, and a summer camp. Parents are heavily involved in their child’s experience at Eliada, creating consistency between the program and home environments. Beyond daily communication, Eliada’s Child Development team has an open door policy and schedules parent-teacher conferences whenever requested.  Parents participate in field trips, holiday parties, parent-support groups and on the Parent Advisory Committee in which they are given voice to make suggestions to Eliada’s staff and keep Eliada up to date on what is happening in the their communities.

Eliada’s Foster Care and Therapeutic Foster Care Program currently serves over 40 foster youth and provides ongoing training to foster parents on topics ranging from “how to assess crisis” and “how to use crisis as an opportunity to learn coping skills,” to “how to set clear expectations” and “how to use natural consequences.” Foster parents can call Eliada’s staff for support at any time. When possible, Eliada’s Foster Care team ensures the biological family is engaged during the entire foster care experience through co-parenting, and works to value and respect the diverse cultures and practices of the biological families. Eliada also commonly makes referrals for community resources that both biological and foster parents can access.

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