Parents are the frontline public health workers–they nurture and support, supervise and teach healthy habits, make sure their child is safe and supported in their community, and help their child get the education and health care they need. Parenting can present many joys and challenges. For parents who don’t have many resources, these challenges may be harder to tackle. Parents may need help facing those challenges. Learn how CDC helps parents get the support and information they need.

Parents play a critical role in a child’s brain development. They are their children’s first teachers and prepare them for increased independence. As the child grows and develops, there are many things parents can do to help their child. CDC provides tips to help parents learn more about positive parenting and their child’s development, safety, and health at each stage of their child’s life. Parents can track their child’s developmental milestones and act early if there is a concern.


Legacy for Children™—supporting mothers

Parents need information, but they also need support. Parents often turn to each other for information and support, but not all parents have access to what they need. Legacy for Children™ (Legacy) is a group intervention for mothers and children to help children from families with few financial resources grow and learn. The goals of Legacy are to

  • Support sensitive, responsive mother-child relationships;
  • Help mothers feel good about themselves in their role as parents; and
  • Foster relationships among mothers so that they can support each other.

Legacy works toward these goals through several avenues: group meetings where mothers can talk with each other and a group leader; mother-child time where they can practice skills; one-on-one sessions with the group leader to talk about individual mothers’ needs; and participation in community events. Learn more about the Legacy programLegacy was developed through studies at two research sites: Miami, Florida and Los Angeles, California. Learn more about the research behind Legacy.

Legacy has been used in many different communities, while studies continue to collect information about how the program works and how it could be improved. Mothers who participate in Legacy express interest in learning about how children develop and how to improve their parenting skills, and value the support they receive from the group leaders and other mothers. However, attending a parenting group that meets weekly for 3 years can be very challenging for mothers due to work schedules, family responsibilities, and problems finding transportation to attend the group meetings.

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