By: Anne Korfas, Annual Giving Manager

Last year we highlighted one of our partner agencies and their efforts to guide families with children during the COVID-19 lockdown. The pandemic changed how many parenting support programs deliver services, including moving from in-person groups to online platforms. Nearly two years into this pandemic, family support agencies are STILL HERE, partnering with Prevent Child Abuse NC (PCANC) to help families and individuals navigate the challenges of parenthood.

For eight years, Albemarle Alliance for Children and Families (AACF) has worked with PCANC to learn how to effectively implement Triple P, The Incredible Years, and Circle of Parents, including monthly coaching sessions with a PCANC Program Specialist. During those calls, Program Facilitators can set and monitor goals, and receive feedback on their delivery of parenting programs.

At the onset of COVID-19, PCANC helped AACF create a “Goal and Engagement Plan” to help shift of in-person meetings to a virtual setting, including a strategy to create connection and conversation with parents over a new platform. Virtual sessions allowed AACF to record the classes and later review with a PCANC Program Specialist.

“Our classes may not have been a success without the video recording. PCANC reviewed the videos and provided suggestions to improve dialogue. With the Incredible Years and Circle of Parents programs (normally implemented in person) we were trying to strategize ways to keep the program effective…. we did not know where to start. We felt as if the parenting programs would no longer happen, our classes stalled due to COVID-19. We immediately contacted PCANC and the NC DHHS for guidance. The soft voice tone, the willingness, and availability to answer questions eased tension, doubt, and frustration.”

Faith Mosely, Family Support Services Manager

Two big challenges AACF faced when engaging parents over the past year are (1) navigating parents’ different comfort levels with technology and (2) internet access/stability in a rural community. To resolve these issues, program facilitators prioritized helping parents learn new technology platforms and partnered with the North Carolina Partnership for Children to provided tablets with built-in wireless connection.

Despite these challenges, providing support in a virtual setting means parents can save time and money on travel and staff at AACF have seen an increase in attendance. Childcare is also not as big of an issue because families can receive support in the comfort of their homes. A virtual platform allows facilitators to be sensitive to the needs of the group and check- in on the parents before class.

“We feel as facilitators that we are providing effective skills and techniques to support parents and to help them learn strategies and tools to cope with challenging behaviors… Through our successful parenting programs, we can see parents strive to meet their full potential.”

Tasheba Stallings & Jeffrey Billups, Lead Program Facilitators

Prevention happens in partnership. That’s why PCANC is STILL HERE, working with resilient agencies and people like Faith, Tasheba, and Jeffrey to ensure safe, nurturing environments for children during this stressful time.

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