About the Project
This project is one of the 2020 WISE Awards winners.
The Call for Applications for the 2021 WISE Awards is now open.
Apply by December 20, 2020.
Parenting the Future (PTF) is a parent-engagement program that supports caregivers in developing skills and behaviors to foster children’s attachment and healthy development and strengthens families’ role in children’s care, protection and education. The program hires staff locally and trains them as Infant and Toddler Parenting Coaches (“parenting coaches”). Caregivers and their children come to centers for individual and group sessions led by the coaches, and home visits will be provided for families living in remote villages.
Context and Issue
Of China’s 45 million children under 3, nearly 40% live in rural areas. A minority of rural caregivers engages in interactive parenting, and 39% in poverty areas face depression, anxiety, and stress. Early childhood interventions are the most effective, cost-efficient strategy to boost human capital and break the poverty cycle, but implementing and scaling them up challenges local governments lacking skilled childcare workers, management capability, and know-how to provide services efficiently for the poorest children. When available, services are fragmented and sectors do not link women’s empowerment and local employment with children’s development.
Solution and Impact
PTF offers new possibilities: improved caregiver‒child interactions; on-the-job training for women in child development; better training, management, and implementation using advanced technologies; and lifelong learning. A parent-engagement program and first entry point for family services, PTF guides caregivers in developing skills and behaviors that foster children’s development and strengthen families. County governments oversee and coordinate PTF using an Operational Guide with Standard Operations Procedures to assure quality. An innovative Digital Operations Management Platform enables staff (coaches, supervisors, managers) to interactively implement PTF with parents; gain timely feedback on participation in mutually reinforcing activities; and monitor children and families’ progress. Creation and support of PTF through a public‒private partnership assures efficiency and efficacy and fosters public confidence in and demand for PTF and evidence-based social programs.
In 2018‒2019, the project was scaled up county-wide in 2 Shaanxi counties with 25 centers in both Ningshan and Qingjian, reaching the total number of beneficiaries to 28,391, including 9,565 children, 18,452 caregivers, and 376 coaches, managers, and supervisors.
PTF impacts education, workforce development, children’s outcomes, and poverty. It could transform social sector management via digital technology and innovative training. For children, PTF improves developmental gaps, reading and math scores, and school dropout; for rural women, it builds technical and leadership skills; for families and society, it can break the poverty cycle. The goal: scale up to all 832 poverty counties by 2030.