Positive parenting program a success for ECU

ECU professor Kerry Littlewood lists high-risk situations for parents during a five-week positive parenting program held at ECU. (Contributed photo)

ECU professor Kerry Littlewood lists high-risk situations for child behavior problems during a five-week positive parenting program held at ECU. (Contributed photo)

By Nicole Wood
ECU College of Human Ecology

East Carolina University’s College of Human Ecology in partnership with the Pitt County Health Department and the university’s Department of Human Resources held a free, five-week Positive Parenting Program (Triple P) for faculty and staff.

Triple P was designed to treat and prevent common behavioral issues that parents may encounter when raising children and teenagers. ECU professors Eboni Baugh, Sharon Ballard, Kerry Littlewood and Lisa Tyndall focused the program on empowering parents to become more confident and efficient in their childrearing techniques.

Kerri Augustino, Triple P participant and lab specialist with ECU’s Department of Internal Medicine, said that this type of course should be an integral part of family planning. “When people are preparing for children to come into the world they attend classes on what to expect during the birthing process, they often take a tour of the hospital, or learn CPR, but what they should be taught how to be a good parent,” said Augustino.

ECU faculty leading the Triple P program provided information handouts specific to participants' needs.

ECU faculty leading the Triple P program provided information handouts specific to participants’ needs.

One of the Triple P program’s hallmarks is flexibility that allows for each provider to facilitate the program in a way that best meets participants’ needs. ECU’s sessions included provider-led activities, small-group discussions and individualized take-home tip sheets. The providers have also planned ongoing follow-up and information delivery via Blackboard.

Scheduled to accommodate attendance during employee lunch breaks, the program was more popular than expected with seating capacity reached within 48 hours. Due to the high demand, the program will be offered again in October and perhaps on an ongoing basis once a semester if funding can be obtained.

Littlewood, Triple P provider and ECU social work professor, said that grant funding from the Centers for Disease Control paid for initial training, accreditation and implementation of the program.  “There is still a question of how the course will be funded once the grant money runs out,” she said.

Dr. Matt Dwyer, director of ECU’s Center for Counseling and Student Development, said he was thrilled to be a Triple P participant and hopes that the program will continue. “Triple P allowed me to set my own goals and work on them with the support of the instructors and my classmates. Overall, I walked away very pleased, happy that I took the time out to engage in the program, and believe that I am a better parent as a result of my involvement in Triple P,” said Dwyer.

ECU faculty members are also serving as a Triple P evaluation team for the Pitt County Health Department. The team will evaluate different types of implementations, barriers to implementation, and delivery methods; measure program outcomes; and map delivery areas to identify gaps in coverage across the county. Their evaluation will then be used to improve implementation of the Triple P program throughout the county. Additionally, the group’s local evaluation will contribute to a larger cross-site evaluation of Triple P across multiple states.

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