For Agencies

The Chicago Parent Program team has been collaborating with early childhood agencies for many years. We understand many of the issues agencies face in deciding whether to invest in using an evidence-based program like the Chicago Parent Program. Below we’ve answered some of the most commonly-asked questions about implementation, adaptations, staffing requirements, quality assurance, training and technical assistance, and cost.

Frequently Asked Questions


Q. What is the population best served by the Chicago Parent Program?
A.The Chicago Parent Program was designed for parents of young children, aged 2-5 years old. We define parents very broadly and include biological, adoptive, step- and foster parents; grandparents; relatives; and non-related caregivers. In fact, we encourage multiple caregivers to attend the Chicago Parent Program groups so they can all learn the same information and work together for the benefit of their children.

Q. The population in my agency speaks Spanish. Is the Chicago Parent Program available in Spanish?
A. Yes. The videos are available in Spanish. You can purchase the USBs with both English and Spanish videos and text on one device. Parent handouts are written in English and Spanish. The Chicago Parent Program Group Leader Manual is also fully translated into Spanish.

Q. The population in my agency is not highly educated. Is the Chicago Parent Program appropriate for parents who do not have a high level of reading skill?
A. Using the Chicago Parent Program, parents learn in five different ways: watching the video scenes, group discussion, handouts written at or below the 5th-grade reading level, role-play during parent groups, and practice assignments designed to help parents use their new skills at home with their children. A high level of reading skill is not needed to succeed in this program.


Q. Where has the Chicago Parent Program been implemented?
A. The Chicago Parent Program is being implemented in agencies in over 16 states and the District of Columbia. Some of the best-known agencies that have used the Chicago Parent Program are Head Start agencies in Chicago, Chicago Public Schools, Baltimore City Public Schools, Columbus Public Schools, Illinois Project LAUNCH, DC Project LAUNCH, the Children's Institute in Rochester NY, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, and the Kennedy-Krieger Institute.

Q. What are the most common challenges to effective implementation? How might these challenges be overcome?
A. The most common challenge to effective implementation is getting parents to participate. The Chicago Parent Program is a 12-session program and different skills are taught in each session. However, the skills build upon each other so it’s important to get parents to attend from the very beginning. Many strategies have been used to overcome this challenge. These include (a) getting full-agency buy-in about the importance of participating in the Chicago Parent Program groups, (b) making it easy to attend the parent groups by providing on-site childcare and refreshments and schedule parent groups at a time that is convenient for parents to attend, (c) providing frequent reminders about when parent groups are being held such as phone calls and text messages to parents, flyers, notices in agency newsletters, and letting teachers know dates so they can reinforce attendance, and (d) providing incentives for attendance such as gift cards, children's books, or random drawings or prizes.

Q.What common mistakes have been made, and how can we avoid them?
A. The most common mistake is to offer the Chicago Parent Program without the full buy-in of parents, staff, and key leaders at your agency. Before investing in the Chicago Parent Program, meet with key stakeholders at your agency. Show them the evidence supporting the program, including the testimonial video. Explain the cost and show how you have the resources needed to implement the program well.


Q. Have some agencies made adaptations to the Chicago Parent Program? Are there certain adaptations that can be made?
A. We understand that programs often have to be adapted to best serve the needs of the local population. However, the Chicago Parent Program team would like to be involved in discussing those adaptations to ensure that they will not compromise quality or effectiveness. For example, in one agency, the group leaders added more handouts and role-play exercises on stress management (session 9). This kind of adaptation can be very effective. However, some agencies may want to offer only 6 sessions instead of 12 sessions to increase parent attendance. This kind of adaptation will diminish the effectiveness of the Chicago Parent Program because parents will not be exposed to much of the program. Some agencies have adapted the age range to include parents of children older than 5 years. Although our research has focused on 2-5 year old children, anecdotal evidence indicates that the program works very well for parents of older children. However, we do not recommend using the full Chicago Parent Program for parents of infants since many of the strategies taught are inappropriate for children under 2 years old.


Q. What are the staffing requirements for implementing the Chicago Parent Program?
A. We strongly recommend that Chicago Parent Program groups be led by two trained group leaders. Although it is tempting to have only one group leader, it is very difficult for one person to manage the videos, group discussion, and role-play; keep the group “on task” and “on topic;” and manage the paperwork (i.e., taking attendance, collecting and distributing practice assignments, collecting weekly satisfaction forms). In our experience, many of the parents who attend parent groups also have other needs (e.g., depression, family strife, and housing instability) that make it more difficult to learn. For this reason, we strongly recommend that one of the two group leaders have a mental health background.

Q. What are the minimum qualifications for becoming a Chicago Parent Program Group Leader?
A.  The minimum qualifications include having at least a high school diploma or GED and successful completion of the Chicago Parent Program Group Leader Training Workshop. 

Q. What types of people make the best Chicago Parent Program Group Leaders?
A. Amazingly, research has not yet been able to extract the key ingredient for being an outstanding Chicago Parent Program Group Leader. From our experience, the best group leaders are people who (a) are very knowledgeable about the Chicago Parent Program principles and strategies but know that parents are the true experts about their children; (b) are comfortable leading groups and will come well-prepared to each group; (c) enjoy parents as much as they enjoy children; and (d) can gear the new information for parents in ways that are understood and that help parents tailor the strategies to meet their childrearing goals.

Q. Is there a recommended group size for the Chicago Parent Program?
A. We recommend groups of 8-12 parents.


Q. How is implementation quality assessed for the Chicago Parent Program?
A. Implementation quality is assessed two ways. Chicago Parent Program group leaders are trained to assess their own implementation of the program after each session using the Group Leader Weekly Checklist. Implementation quality can also be independently evaluated by the Chicago Parent Program team. Click here for more information about getting independent fidelity evaluations of Chicago Parent Program groups.

Q. What tests have been done to ensure the validity and reliability of the measures used to assess implementation quality or fidelity?
A. Group leader implementation of the Chicago Parent Program is assessed by independent raters using the Fidelity Checklist. The Fidelity Checklist is a feasible, reliable, and valid measure of group leader adherence to the program and competence and quality of facilitating CPP groups. In a study of the relationship between group leader implementation and parents’ participation in the program, we found that (a) group leader adherence to the program is associated with higher parent attendance and engagement in the group and (b) the quality of group facilitation is associated with parent satisfaction with the program.

Q. What are the agency supervisors’ responsibilities for providing effective oversight for program quality?
A. To ensure that the Chicago Parent Program is being delivered well, group leaders will need support and resources from their supervisors. Specifically, supervisors will want to be sure that all group leaders have successfully completed the Chicago Parent Program Group Leader Training Workshop before leading parent groups, have the space and equipment (i.e., TV monitor, Laptop) needed to run parent groups, support for recruiting parents into the group, and help with childcare.


Q. Is training required before a site can implement the Chicago Parent Program?
A. We strongly recommend that at least two people from each site complete the 2-day Chicago Parent Program Group Leader Training Workshop.

Q. Who conducts the training and where is it conducted?
A. CPP staff conduct the 2-day training workshops. Training workshops are conducted on site or at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, IL and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. For more information about CPP group leader training.

Q. Can staff at my site be certified to conduct future group leader training (Is there a train-the-trainer model)?
A. We do not support Chicago Parent Program Group Leaders becoming trainers of other group leaders. However, we highly recommend that novice group leaders be paired with experienced Chicago Parent Program group leaders.

Q. Who is typically trained?
A. We train individuals who intend to facilitate Chicago Parent Program groups and other agency staff who would like to learn how the program works.

Q. What is the duration of the Chicago Parent Program Group Leader Training?
A. The training workshops are 2, 7-hour days.

Q. Is retraining required or available?
A. Retraining is available.

Q. What on-site assistance is provided by the developers of the Chicago Parent Program?
A. We are happy to provide consultation by phone. Brief phone and email technical assistance is free of charge. More extensive consultation is $70/hour. On-site assistance may also be available.


Q. How much does it cost for training Chicago Parent Program Group Leaders?
A. Costs vary depending on location and number of individuals from the same agency being trained. For more information on group leader training, services, and materials cost, click here.

Q. How much does it cost to implement the Chicago Parent Program at my agency?
A. The cost varies but here are the items to include when estimating your budget: (a) Chicago Parent Program USBs + Group Leader Manual, (b) extra manual for second group leader, (c) stipends for group leaders, if applicable (d) childcare costs, (e) refreshments for parents and children, (f) space costs, if applicable, (f) weekly parent handouts, (g) TV monitor with remote control, (h) extra batteries for remote control, (j) large paper for making lists during group discussion if blackboard/white board unavailable, and (k) digital audio recorder for fidelity monitoring. Please refer to the price list for program materials click here.

Q. Do I need any special equipment to implement the Chicago Parent Program?
A. You will need a monitor or LCD projector with remote control (for pausing video scenes during parent group discussions). You will need a room large enough to hold all of the parents, chairs that can be arranged into a circle, a blackboard/white board OR large paper that can be taped to the wall and markers for making lists during parent group discussions. We highly recommend having a digital recorder to record the parent group sessions for fidelity monitoring. Digital recorders allow group leaders to upload their recordings on the internet to be rated for fidelity.

Q. Is there a cost for fidelity monitoring?
A. Review of audio recorded parent group sessions using the Chicago Parent Program Fidelity Checklist is $175 per parent session. This includes rating of the group leader’s adherence and competence plus detailed feedback on strengths and areas for improvement.