Napa, CA – Cope Family Center announced they have recently expanded services across their programs including parent education and drop-in crisis support. Founded in 1972, the nonprofit is entering its 47th year of providing support to struggling parents in Napa County.
“Our goal has remained steady over the years,” said Executive Director Michele Grupe. “We are here to help parents manage the demands of parenting and life’s challenges so they can give their children a secure, loving and healthy home. But the stressors that parents face have changed over time, and as a result, our programs continually evolve to best meet the needs of families.”
Triple P Positive Parenting Program
A community survey in 2017 and ongoing feedback from clients and community partners helped Cope identify growth opportunities. One of the most critical needs was support for parents of teens. “We were having great success with our parenting classes, but they were targeted for parents of children up to age 12,” explained Grupe. “We heard from so many parents who needed similar guidance for how to effectively parent their teenager.”
Cope utilizes the Triple P - Positive Parenting Program® (Triple P) curriculum for their parenting classes and workshops. “Triple P is an internationally recognized, evidence-based curriculum designed to give parents the skills they need to raise confident, healthy children, and to build stronger family relationships,” explained Annmarie Baker, Program Manager. “It offers proven strategies that prevent and manage a full range of parenting challenges.”
Though Triple P offers curriculum for parents of teens, it took time to add those classes to the lineup at Cope. “As an evidence-based program, Triple P has strict guidelines for training, data collection, and reporting,” said Baker. “We had to secure the funding for training before we could expand. Once we did that, we were able to certify three of our Parent Educators in Triple P Teen.” Cope is now offering one-on-one consultations, in English and Spanish, to parents who have specific concerns about their teenager’s behavior. By summer, they will also be offering a more intensive 9-week series of group classes for parents to learn about the influences on adolescent behavior, setting specific goals, and using strategies to promote a teenager’s skills development, manage inappropriate behavior, and teach emotional self-regulation.
Another identified need was support for parents going through divorce or separation. “We know that effective communication and succesful co-parenting are critical to ensuring the health and wellbeing of children through the transition of divorce,” said Baker. “We also know that can be very challenging to achieve. We are excited to now be offering Triple P Family Transitions, a 6-week workshop that assists parents who need support managing the transition of and strategies for successful co-parenting.” Family Transitions launched in English in January and the next 6-week session starts on February 26th.
Triple P Teen and Family Transitions augment Cope’s existing roster of Triple P classes, which range from one-time discussion groups that help parents deal with specific commonly-encountered behavior problems to a 9-week group class for parents interested in promoting their child’s development and potential or who have concerns about their child’s behavioral problems or simply wish to prevent behavior problems from developing. Free childcare and dinner are provided.
Cope’s Home Visiting program, which provides one-on-one support and skill-building, also expanded to serve more families with young children, another age group that was identified as needing further support. Previously, Cope utilized the Healthy Families America® Home Visiting model which enrolled families prenatally up to three months of age. In February, they transitioned to the Parents as Teachers® model for Home Visiting, which permits families with children to three years of age to enroll. “Before, if a family came to us with a six-month-old or two-year-old, we couldn’t provide them with the intensive support they needed through Home Visiting. With this change, we expect to increase our annual caseload to 100 families from our current 65 families,” reported Program Manager Colleen Masi.
Like the previous program, Parents as Teachers™ is a proven evidence-based program model designed to work in supporting family wellbeing, parent-child interaction and developmental-centered parenting. Regardless of the child’s age at enrollment, staff works with families until the child enters Kindergarten. Bilingual and bicultural Home Visiting staff are able to serve Spanish-speaking families in their preferred language and work within the context of their cultural beliefs. “The outcomes of the Home Visiting service are significant,” said Masi. “We consistently see increases in parents’ knowledge of child development and greater confidence in their parenting abilities, early detection of developmental delays and health issues, and improved school readiness.”
Family Resource Center
In the wake of the wildfires and with the cost of living continuing to rise and the housing crisis worsening, Cope has also seen increased demand for drop-in crisis support and emergency assistance services. As a result, they have hired a bilingual Family Resource Center Coordinator to provide more intensive crisis intervention, in both English and Spanish. Program Director Julie Murphy explained, “We are seeing families still struggling to recover from the financial and emotional trauma of the fires and other tragedies in our community. Issues such as domestic violence, substance abuse or mental health challenges make it even more difficult to achieve stability. The stress of trying to make ends meet can become too much to manage and without support, the parents’ stress can impact the children, even leading to abuse.”
Families can come to Cope for emergency assistance such as diapers and formula or gift cards for groceries, gas or medicine. “Something as simple as filling their gas tank so they can get to work or getting diapers to get them to pay day helps relieve stress,” said Murphy. Cope also works with the clients to understand the underlying cause of their crisis so they can refer them to additional resources for longer-term support. “With a dedicated bilingual Family Resource Center Coordinator, we will be able to more fully assess families’ needs and better assist them in connecting with other resources at Cope and other services in the community, such as food subsidy programs, mental health services and employment resources,” said Murphy.
Impact of Cope’s Programs
Ultimately, all of Cope’s programs seek to alleviate parental stress so parents can raise children who thrive physically, emotionally, socially and academically. “The tragic outcome of families facing trauma and toxic stress is evident in child maltreatment rates,” said Grupe. “2017 was a particularly difficult year for families in our community and that was reflected in an alarming increase in child abuse and neglect in Napa County, which increased 45% over 2016. We see that parents want to be good parents, but sometimes, they just don’t know how. Perhaps they grew up in abusive homes and didn’t have a healthy role model. Or postpartum depression prevents a mother from bonding with her infant. Or the stress of working three jobs makes it difficult to be patient with a disobedient toddler. Or addiction makes it nearly impossible to maintain stability. Or a teenager acts out, leaving the parents unsure of how to discipline the behavior. Every parent struggles at some point, and we want them to know they can come to Cope for help.”
All of Cope’s services are provided free of charge, made possible by government and community support. “Major funding for our work is provided by the Napa County Health and Human Services Agency; Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement Grant; the Napa Valley Vintners; Queen of the Valley Medical Center and Sisters of St. Joseph Healthcare Foundation; Kaiser Permanente Napa-Solano; and the Peter A. & Vernice H. Gasser Foundation,” said Grupe. “Together with generous contributions from hundreds of individuals, businesses and foundations each year, our donors, sponsors and grantors make our work possible. We are truly grateful for their commitment to transforming the lives of Napa Valley’s children and their families.”