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By National Research Council, Jack P. Shonkoff, Deborah Phillips, Bonnie Keilty

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Extra resources for Early Childhood Intervention: Views from the Field, Report of a Workshop (Compass Series (Washington, D.C.).)

Sample text

Despite this assertion, however, no new ideas were generated about how to achieve this persistently elusive goal. Provider Knowledge, Skills, and Relationship with the Family Workshop participants noted the diversity of conditions and circumstances with which early childhood programs are confronted, underscoring the extent to which the need for highly trained professionals with broad-based knowledge and sophisticated technical skills is a fundamental chal- 21 lenge facing the field. Examples cited include infants with significant developmental disabilities with or without complex medical concerns, preschoolers with severe behavioral disorders, mothers with clinical depression, and families dealing with the stresses of poverty, marital discord, substance abuse, and/or recurrent domestic violence.

The defining features of a family-centered approach to early childhood services include (1) treating families with dignity and respect, particularly with respect to their cultural and socioeconomic character- istics; (2) providing choices that address family priorities and concerns; (3) fully disclosing information so that families can make informed decisions; and (4) providing support in a manner that is empowering and that enhances parental competence. Several workshop participants described research findings that document strong correlations between the way in which formal support is provided and family ratings of program effectiveness, with higher satisfaction reported when service providers facilitate more active family involvement in learning new skills.

Dale Farran ing model of how community factors influence the design, implementation, and effectiveness of services? How is current thinking about these issues informing the nature of services in each area of expertise? What role is played by the institutional context in which services are delivered? What, if any, community resources must be in place and linkages must be made in order to foster effectiveness? What is each field currently measuring at this level of analysis and what should it be able to measure in the future?

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