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Parents are their children’s first teachers, though many young children in this region are cared for daily in a non-parental setting while their parents are working. The quality of these settings is critical to healthy social, emotional and cognitive development. United Way’s Healthy Parenting Initiative provides resources to promote healthy child development to all sectors that work with children and families, especially those children who have Adverse Childhood Experiences or significant childhood traumas.

The Healthy Parenting Initiative was launched in 2009 in response to the need for therapies and intervention for young children experiencing challenging behaviors and for subsequent parent engagement strategies. United Way’s Healthy Parenting Initiative is an integrated program concentrated on improving the social and emotional development of a child to ensure school readiness and success, including:

  • Trauma-informed training and pyscho-educational professional development for current and future early childhood educators, including staff at participating Success By 6® centers
  • Comprehensive parenting education programming for parents whose children are enrolled in a Success By 6® center or through one of United Way’s Impact partners
  • Trauma-informed psycho-educational professional development for staff in the social service sector including school districts, homeless shelters, department of health and various other agencies to help build common language across sectors
  • Trauma series coursework at several local universities for early childhood educators
  • Certification for mental health clinicians, pediatricians and child psychiatrists in Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics©, an assessment tool that creates brain-maps to inform the sequence and duration of existing evidenced-based interventions and activities with children and families

United Way’s Healthy Parenting work in trauma-informed care was featured in the Philadelphia Public School Notebook in an article entitled “Seeing the varieties of traumatic experience in Philadelphia’s students” written by Paul Jablow.

For more information on United Way’s Healthy Parenting Initiative, contact Suzanne O’Connor at 215-665-2453 or

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