As a facilitator for the Family Tree Circle of Parents support group, I know the value of this group as I myself am a mother that benefits from the advice other parents share at these meetings.
Family Tree started this group for Spanish-speaking parents to improve parenting skills and reduce social isolation, as Spanish-speaking parents have reported more social isolation. Parents who attend this group have expressed how glad they feel to have a place where they can go and connect with other parents. As one parent said, “I am glad that Family Tree decided to start this group directed specifically to the Spanish-speaking parents. I feel that is very important for Spanish-speaking parents to have a support group where parents can have a safe place to talk about their parenting issues and also to get non-judgmental advice from other parents.”
The Family Tree Circle of Parents support group is offered to families participating in the Family Tree Kinship Programs. Family Tree Kinship Programs support and stabilize families who have taken in and are caring for a relative’s or non-biological child, and for families receiving child-only Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Family Tree Kinship Programs connect families with community services and financial assistance to help address the challenges of caring for a relative’s child(ren).
Through our experience serving Family Tree Kinship parents and caregivers, we wanted a more robust way to support parents. ‘Concrete support in times of need’ is one of five protective factors shown to diminish the likelihood of child abuse and neglect, which is a core part of Family Tree’s mission.
In the Family Tree Circle of Parents support group, parents chose the topic and lead the conversation focusing on the five protective factors. The idea behind having parent-led conversations is to empower caregivers as the experts. As the facilitator, I am present to help caregivers stay on topic and keep the conversation solution-based. Family Tree also provides snacks and childcare during these meetings.
Family Tree is preparing to introduce a Circle of Parents support group for English-speaking kinship parents this fall. We are proud to offer another way to strengthen families in the Denver metro area.