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Universal parenting support matters and is happening in Ohio

Updated: Apr 29

Guest blog by Lisa Golden, Implementation Consultant, Triple P

As April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, it’s a great time to highlight Ohio’s efforts to reach all parents with evidence-based parenting support through the well-researched Positive Parenting Program (Triple P). This program is supported by the Ohio Department of Children and Youth and the Ohio Children’s Trust Fund.


Historically, parenting programs have been developed and disseminated for targeted groups of parents, often associated with various identified risk profiles, or requiring eligibility based on limiting criteria.[i],[ii] 

This approach neglects the reality that all parents can benefit from:

  • evidence-based strategies proven to lower parent stress

  • an improved parent-child relationship

  • a reduction in the emotional and behavioral challenges for their children


Who Can Benefit from Triple P

A population-level approach to reach everyone helps parents develop skills to cope with difficult circumstances in a healthy and nurturing way. It also avoids expensive population screening, ensures that parents and caregivers receive the support they seek, and enables parents to enter, re-enter, and exit the program depending on their changing needs as their children develop.[iii]  


When only targeting more vulnerable families, the majority of parents experiencing difficulties with parenting are not reached and such approaches make it more difficult to impact the prevalence rates of child maltreatment. Additionally, it can stigmatize the targeted families. A population-level approach creates an environment in which parents do not feel shame in accessing resources, thereby increasing the number of parents seeking these supports.


Triple P has been proven to reduce rates of child maltreatment both in the US[iv] and internationally.[v]  This suggests that all parents experience difficulties and challenges raising their children from time to time, that confronting and dealing with these challenges is normal and healthy, and that there is value in learning skills and strategies to help children thrive.[ii]


How the Program Works

Universal access to parenting supports, such as Triple P, targets multiple risk and protective factors across childhood and adolescence at scale. Such universal approaches compound the benefits for individuals, families, and systems as access to resource-efficient and cost-effective solutions promote early intervention and may reduce the likelihood of intensive parenting support needed later.


Triple P programs are based on the principle of minimal sufficiency, that is, providing “just enough” help to solve a problem. This approach recognizes that most people will benefit from low-intensity parenting programs that avoid over-serving families. Furthermore, these programs are also cost-efficient to deliver at a population level.[iii] 


Providing some level of support for all families promotes ownership and empowerment for parents to engage in the level of intervention that meets their family’s needs. This approach is public health-friendly, supporting parents without relying on professional intervention. Parenting support that is perceived as time efficient, relevant, flexible, self-paced, and resource-light allows for the greatest potential for program reach and engagement as it encourages participation from parents facing multiple time or resource stressors, and/or from more vulnerable families who may initially refuse more intensive support. [vi]


Triple P is designed as a system of support with the idea of having flexible support for families at the right time, the right place, and in the right amount. It can be delivered in group settings or one-on-one by a range of different providers across lots of different settings where families naturally gather.  In Ohio, Triple P is delivered in libraries, early childhood centers, schools, primary care clinics, and by trained providers in area agencies that provide support to families.


Triple P is parent-led and parent-driven. Parents are introduced to a range of strategies proven to be effective across many diverse parenting contexts and can select their own goals for support. They then try only the strategies they consider to be relevant for them. The program has content for children ages birth to 12, helping parents lower stress with transition times like bedtime or morning routines, offering parents strategies for teaching and encouraging the behavior they want to see with their children. Additionally, the program also has content to help parents learn strategies to respond well to tweens’ and teens’ changing emotions, further reducing family conflict.


Ohio’s investment in the Triple P model supports a universal access approach to parenting support and is making an impact statewide.  Over the past 18 months, with funding from the Department of Children and Youth and the Ohio Children’s Trust Fund:

A successful marketing campaign has resulted in over 20,000 parents and caregivers registering for Triple P Online, representing parents from every Ohio county, including many counties where access to other professional supports may be limited by available workforce or limitations due to eligibility. Additionally, many parents indicate a preference for online parenting support.[vii]

The following heat map represents the count of parents and caregivers who have registered for the Triple P Online (TPOL) parenting program in Ohio:

Testimonials from parents who have taken the Triple P Online course include:

Others to consider…

“It's been helpful to see real life examples of ways to communicate better with my children. I have implemented and already seen an improvement in both my kids reactions and my feelings during difficult moments.” – parent, Greene County

“…I definitely was trying to find just decent resources to help me with the children because they are a wide variety of ages. And more so for my youngest, my son, the four-year-old who's on the Autism spectrum. I'm always trying to find tools and strategies that fit with that.”

For more information, check out the Ohio Triple P website.  

The Ohio Children’s Trust Fund’s (OCTF) mission is to prevent child abuse and neglect through investing in strong communities, healthy families, and safe children. Since its creation in 1984, OCTF has funded primary and secondary prevention strategies conducted at the local level in all 88 Ohio counties, in addition to initiatives and projects of statewide significance, all of which are designed to strengthen families and prevent child abuse and neglect.


[i] Sanders, M., Higgins, D., & Prinz. R. (2018). A population approach to the prevention of child maltreatment. Family Matters, 100. Australian Institute of Family Studies.

[ii] Prinz, R. (2019). A population approach to parenting support and prevention: The Triple P System.

[iii] Doyle, F. L., Morawska, A., Higgins, D. J., Havighurst, S. S., Mazzucchelli, T. G., Toumbourou, J. W., ... & Sanders, M. R. (2022). Policies are needed to increase the reach and impact of evidence-based parenting supports: A call for a population-based approach to supporting parents, children, and families. Child Psychiatry & Human Development, 1-14.

[iv] Prinz, R. J., Sanders, M. R., Shapiro, C. J., Whitaker, D. J., & Lutzker, J. R. (2009). Population-based prevention of child maltreatment: The U.S. Triple P System population trial. Prevention Science, 10(1), 1-12. 

[v] Sanders, M. R., Clague, D., Zajac, T., Baxter, J., Western, M., Chainey, C., Morawska, A., Tomazewski, W., Prinz, R. J., & Burke, K. (2024). Parenting, child maltreatment, and social disadvantage: A population-based implementation and evaluation of the Triple P system of evidence-based parenting support. manuscript submitted for publication.

[vi] Wymbs, F. A., Cunningham, C. E., Chen, Y., Rimas, H. M., Deal, K., Waschbusch, D. A., & Pelham Jr, W. E. (2016). Examining parents’ preferences for group and individual parent training for children with ADHD symptoms. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 45(5), 614-631.

[vii] Metzler, C. W., Sanders, M. R., Rusby, J. C., & Crowley, R. N. (2012). Using consumer preference information to increase the reach and impact of media-based parenting interventions in a public health approach to parenting support. Behavior Therapy, 43(2), 257-270.



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