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ParentCorps enhances pre-K programs in schools and early education centers serving primarily children of color from low-income communities. The program takes a two-generation approach by supporting both parents and children. It helps the important adults in children’s lives – parents and teachers – create safe, nurturing and predictable environments at home and in the classroom and improves relationships and communication between parents and teachers. These changes scaffold children’s acquisition of self-regulation skills, and together, sustained changes in the environment and self-regulatory capacity contribute to improved mental health and achievement in childhood and adolescence. The program consists of 14 weekly sessions, which are held in the school during the evening and co-facilitated by mental health professionals and pre-K teachers or other school staff. Parent and child groups meet separately first but are brought together so that parents can practice new skills.

ParentCorps includes three components:

1. Professional Learning for leaders, teachers, mental health professionals and parent support staff on evidence-based strategies to promote social, emotional and behavioral development and family engagement practices; training and coaching for teachers and mental health professionals to support high-quality program implementation.

2. Parenting Program for families of pre-K students (14 2-hour sessions) to provide opportunities for parents to come together, share ideas, learn about evidence-based practices, and support each other in parenting effectively.

3. Social-Emotional Learning Classroom Curriculum for pre-K students (14 2-hour sessions).

Blueprints has certified two studies evaluating ParentCorps.

In the first study, Brotman et al. (2011) tested the program’s impacts in a cluster randomized controlled trial of eight public schools within in one school district in New York City. Equal numbers of schools were randomized to either receive the intervention (n=4; 118 children) or services as usual (n=4; 53 children). Data were collected at baseline and posttest from parents, children, teachers, and in-home observations of parent-child interactions. At posttest, compared to the control group, children who received the intervention had significantly fewer teacher-reported behavioral problems (composite of externalizing, internalizing, oppositional defiant and conduct disorders) and their parents displayed more effective parenting practices.

In the second study, Brotman et al. (2013, 2016) and Dawson-McClure et al. (2015) conducted another cluster randomized controlled trial in two highly disadvantaged school districts in New York City. Five schools (n=561 children) were randomized to the intervention group and five schools (n=489 children) were randomized to an education-as-usual control group. In this study, professional development included pre-K and kindergarten teachers and paraprofessionals; thus, the posttest assessment occurred at the end of kindergarten. Additional measures were collected at the end of the first- and second-grade years. Compared to the control schools, participants in the intervention schools scored significantly higher on a kindergarten achievement test (posttest), teacher-rated academic performance (posttest and two-year follow-up), and behavioral problems as measured by a composite of externalizing and internalizing behaviors (two-year follow-up). Additionally, at posttest, intervention parents had higher self- and teacher-rated effective parenting.

To date, the Washington State Institute for Public Policy has not conducted a cost-benefit analysis of implementing ParentCorps.


Brotman, L. M., Calzada, E., Huang, K., Kingston, S., Dawson-McClure, S., Kamboukos, D., . . . Petkova, E. (2011). Promoting effective parenting practices and preventing child behavior problems in school among ethnically diverse families from underserved, urban communities. Child Development, 82(1), 258-276

Brotman, L. M., Dawson-McClure, S., Calzada, E. J., Huang, K., Kamboukos, D., Palamar, J. J., & Petkova, E. (2013). Cluster (school) RCT of ParentCorps: Impact on kindergarten academic achievement. Pediatrics, 131(5), 1521-1529.

Brotman, L. M., Dawson-McClure, S., Kamboukos, D., Huang, K., Calzada, E., Goldfeld, K., & Petkova, E. (2016). Effects of ParentCorps in prekindergarten on child mental health and academic performance: Follow-up of a randomized clinical trial through 8 years of age. Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics, 170(12), 1149-1155.

Dawson-McClure, S., Calzada, E., Huang, K., Kamboukos, D., Rhule, D., Kolawole, B., . . . Brotman, L. M. (2015). A population-level approach to promoting healthy child development and school success in low-income, urban neighborhoods: Impact on parenting and child conduct problems. Prevention Science, 16(2), 279-290.

Read the Program Fact Sheet


Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development
University of Colorado Boulder
Institute of Behavioral Science
UCB 483, Boulder, CO 80309


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Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development is
currently funded by Arnold Ventures (formerly the Laura and John Arnold Foundation) and historically has received funding from the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.