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Parenting Educational Initiative by MbraceResearch Paper

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Maximizing Parenting Potential, Taylor & Wolfe

Maximizing Parenting Potential by Mbrace Agency

Candace Taylor & Lisa Wolfe

Funding Proposal for Counseling

Agency Description and Qualifications

The agency detailed in this assignment is called Mbrace Counseling and Behavioral Health Services. It provides a multitude of clinical services to a fairly wide client population, including family members, parents, children, and adults. Its mission is to work primarily with populations in urban and suburban settings to provide quality service for a diverse range of needs. Specifically, those needs are readily stratified into those pertaining to behavioral health services and mental health services. The organization specializes in issuing mental health services for multiple needs that include ailments related to a variety of family members including marital stress, family conflict; conduct disorder and job stress. Additionally, it also focuses on issues more common to individuals such as ADHD, depression, anxiety and others. The client population is varied as well, and includes those of low socio-economic standing such as clients with Medicaid and Amerigroup Insurance. The organization also does a significant amount of work with vulnerable populations, children with special needs, families and individuals, and women with a need for both empowerment and support in countless aspects of their lives.

Agency background and qualifications. Mbrace Counseling and Behavioral Health Services is located in Las Vegas, in the southern part of Nevada. As such, the surrounding community is extremely diverse, and contains a substantial amount of historic minority groups as well as clients of Eurocentric backgrounds. A number of members of this community come from challenging socio-economic backgrounds and tend to have problems largely indicative of urban environments. There are many family issues such as single-parent households and situations in which parents have economic difficulties in attempting to earn wages, care for their children, and pay housing costs (Keene et al., 2015). Physically, the community has experienced its fair share of urban affliction contributing to issues of poverty and crime. Many clients reside in apartments, although there are a fair amount of single-family homes as well.

Although it was formed in 2013, Mbrace Counseling and Behavioral Health Services have a lengthy legacy of responding to the community in innovative ways to assist with client needs. This fact is due in no small part to the efforts of its owner and Licensed Clinical Social Worker Lo'Rece Mebane. Mebane has over 20 years of experience in the field of social work, and has played an instrumental role in assisting hundreds of clients throughout her career. As the leader of this agency, Mebane is personally responsible for supervising the efforts of her staff and student interns, all of whom contribute to providing the kind of care that is useful to the unique needs of its diverse population group. During its relatively brief history, the agency was instrumental in facilitating the organization and management of a Women's Empowerment Support Group -- which it formed based on the consistent findings that numerous members of the female community routinely encountered situations in which they were disenfranchised. Based on the success of this group, Mbrace is in the process of forming a Parent Educational Group to deal with the myriad issues surrounding parents in the community. These include dealing with interpersonal issues associated with family dynamics in the inner city, in addition to provisioning peer-based support and coping skills for parents.

Problems in Client Functioning with Existing Services

The primary problem in client functioning within the community that Mbrace treats is the combination of economic and social factors that contributes to pronounced periods of stress for individuals and families (Myers et al., 2015). Specifically, there is a stigma associated with mental healthcare and the kind of behavioral services that Mbrace provides within the numerous historic minority groups it services (Keene et al., 2015). That stigma is less pronounced in its Eurocentric clients who nonetheless experience socio-economic constraints that typically prevent them from seeking help for such issues. Quite simply, there are no other behavioral health services organizations within this community that can tend to the needs of this population. On the one hand, Mbrace provides an environment in which clients can receive services at rates that they can afford. On the other, the staff of Mbrace is well trained in the nuances of tailoring mental health services to historic minority groups in a way that accounts for the myriad cultural differences that attend to efficacy of treatment for these groups. With sufficient funding for a Parent Educational Support Group there is little doubt that this organization can continue to address the needs of its community by providing the kind of low-cost care that is necessary for its at-risk population.

Problem Statement

The Problem

While in one sense it appears that parenting skills come naturally, these skills are actually learned (Bowman et al., 2010). Throughout the history of mankind parents have had family networks to teach effective parenting, but families have become more mobile, and so young parents no longer live near their extended family, who traditionally gave them informal support, advice and assistance, and so the ease of sharing child-rearing wisdom from generation to generation has diminished (Bowman et al., 2010). A survey by the National Commission on Children found that 88% of adults found that they believe it is harder to be a parent than it used to be, and with both parents working outside the home it is even harder to find time for family responsibilities, self-care or social support (Bowman et al., 2010). Parent education programs can improve parenting skills, as well as child outcomes, and can also reduce the risk of child abuse and maltreatment (Johnson et al., 2006).

Research shows that parenting skills can minimize many of the negative long-term effects that impact not only individuals, but also families, communities and our social fabric. Parents, with enough support and education, have the power to create change, for they are the most important contributors to bringing about long-term change in children (Hardin & Mulsow, 2001). When families receive psychoeducation, which can be quite effective in groups, they can improve the quality of life of their family members, and the amount of family stress and strain can be reduced (Ruffolo, Kuhn, & Evans, 2005). This kind of group education can increase the parents' information base regarding parenting, as well as improve their problem solving skills and give them a more positive view own parenting, as well as their children's behavior (Ruffolo et al., 2005). In learning effective parenting the parents learn the importance of nurturing and affection; attentiveness, engagement and responsiveness; reliability and consistency; and monitoring, mentoring and modeling appropriate behavior for their children (Bowman, Pratt, Reenekamp, & Sektnan, 2010). In addition, having the format of a group not only produces positive change in parental perceptions and children's behavior that are maintained over time, but it contributes social support, meets the needs of a larger number of parents at each meeting, is therefore cost-effective, and it enables parents to deal better with new problems as they arise (Barlow & Stewart-Brown, 2000).

Explanatory Theory

Improvements in parenting, as can be gained from psycho educational parenting groups, can be explained by social learning theory and its relationship to attachment theory (O'Connor et al., 2013). Social Learning theory considers that children's learning is a result of real life experiences and exposures, including imitation and reinforcement, and from this the child learns strategies to manage their emotions and resolve disputes, and this learning most often comes from their parents (O'Connor et al., 2013). Poor learning in childhood can result in behavior problems that lead to delinquency, criminal behavior, drug abuse, alcoholism, poor marital and work outcomes, and even psychiatric disorders (Barlow & Stewart-Brown, 2000). Social learning theory can also be a valid theory in the parents learning in groups, for a study of single mothers showed that a community-based program of social support and education showed improved moods, self-esteem and parenting for the mothers versus those who did not receive that kind of group education (Lipman & Boyle, 2005). Training for parents can also offer children a more sensitive and responsive caregiver. Over time the child may see the parent as more responsive and available, which according to attachment theory can give them a secure working model of their self and other (O'Connor et al., 2013).

Relevant Policy

The existing policies that address parenting education groups mostly relates to court ordered parent education classes in cases of divorce. These programs are focused on the development and well-being of children of separation or divorce, and they exist in 46 states (Pollet & Lombreglia, 2008). Yet Parent Education Groups are used in a wide variety of settings throughout our nation, and studies of the effectiveness of parenting education show that in many cases it is highly effective (Hardin & Mulsow, 2001). A meta-analysis of 77 parenting programs has found that parent education groups show a significant improvement in changing parenting behavior and in improving child behavior problems (Kaminski, Valle, Filene, & Boyle, (2008). This psychoeducation can be… [END OF PREVIEW]

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