Developed by Seabourne Consulting, experts in Parents and Families

Parents and Families


In general, a parent is an adult that is responsible for and cares for a child, though this definition is not the only one for the term. Generally, the term “family” refers to a nuclear family, consisting of parents and their dependent children, though it is not strictly limited to this scope. “Family” can also refer to other relatives and extended family members, including, but not limited to grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins. It is important to recognize that biological relation is not required for an individual to be categorized as a parent or family member of a child. 


Family is generally the first layer of an individual’s social support system. Parents and families are responsible for protecting and promoting the physical and mental health, safety, and development of the children they raise and the family members they support. Risk factors for the development of substance abuse disorders, delinquency, and depression in children and youth are often linked to one’s family circumstance(s) and/or lack thereof, including lack of supervision, neglect, stressful life events, and exposure to violence and/or abuse. 


Many lack access to high-quality, affordable child care despite the fact that it increases opportunities for parents and guardians to pursue education and/or earn income, in addition to contributing positively to child health and development. Paid family leave for all working people is another factor that improves the economic stability of families, as parents and caregivers can attend to children or sick family members without losing out on a paycheck. It also benefits employers as paid family and medical leave increases retention, productivity, and labor force participation. 


Adults and children in single-parent households are at greater risk for unhealthy behaviors, like smoking and excessive alcohol use, and adverse health outcomes, like depression and suicide. Immigrant parents in the United States, particularly those that are undocumented, experience fear of deportation and separation from their children. This insecurity can keep immigrant parents from accessing health care for their children and participating in programs like CHIP. Even opportunities for parents and families to be engaged with their children outside the home are not available to all.  Some parents of color experience exclusion from participating in their childrens’ school system due to differing parenting and behavioral norms. Additionally, parents and family members that are economically poor, disabled, LGBTQ+, and/or of color experience compounding marginalizations and are overall more likely to struggle to thrive and support children and other family members. 


Ensuring health equity and equal opportunities for parents and families requires continued dedication to their well-being and acknowledgement of their importance. Special attention should be paid to marginalized groups, especially parents and families of color, in order to improve their access to opportunities, resources, and health equity. Institutionalizing and operationalizing equity and justice throughout the education, child care, child welfare, and health care sectors will require organizations, allies, and systems to deeply center and follow the leadership of people with lived experience. Community-led processes, self-representation, and centering the perspectives and voices of parents and families are a few effective tactics communities can leverage to advance equity and well-being.


Resources & Tools


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Priority Populations Channel
Resource - Data Bank/repository
Brought to you by Community Commons
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How Hospitals Are Failing Black Mothers
Story - Written
Brought to you by ProPublica
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Bearing the Burden: How racism-related stress hurts America’s black mothers and babies
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons
Published on 10/02/2018
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America's Other Family-‍Separation Crisis
Story - Written
Brought to you by TNY
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Mapping America’s Access to Child Care Services
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons
Published on 05/01/2017
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Babies Kept Dying in This City. People Worked Together to Understand Why.
Story - Written
Brought to you by The Pew Charitable Trusts
Published on 10/19/2022
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Adverse Childhood Experiences – Trauma in Children Across the Nation
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons
Published on 12/19/2017
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Paid Family Leave and Sick Days in the U.S.
Story
Brought to you by Community Commons
Published on 01/09/2018
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Do Children in Two-parent Families do Better?
Story - Audio
Brought to you by BBC
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Provide Family and Parenting Support for the Incarcerated
Resource - Policy Brief
Brought to you by WIN Network
Published on 04/16/2021
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Bright Spot: Strengthening Families
Resource - Model Policy
Brought to you by 100MHL
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Implement Universal Family Care
Resource - Policy Brief
Brought to you by WIN Network
Published on 04/16/2021
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Toolkit for Pregnant People and New Parents
Resource - Website/webpage
Brought to you by CDC
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Family and Social Support
Resource - Website/webpage
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Improving Access to Paid Family Leave to Achieve Health Equity
Resource - Policy Brief
Brought to you by RWJF
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Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Persons & Socioeconomic Status
Resource - Fact Sheet
Brought to you by APA
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Increase Programs Providing Home Visits and Follow Up Care for New Mothers
Resource - Policy Brief
Brought to you by WIN Network
Published on 04/16/2021
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Immunization Resources for Parents and Parents-to-Be
Resource - Guide/handbook
Brought to you by VYF
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Parenting While In College: Basic Needs Insecurity Among Students With Children
Resource - Report
Brought to you by The Hope Center
Published on 05/01/2020
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Strengthening Families Program
Resource - Website/webpage
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Bright Spot: Parent Ambassador Program
Resource - Model Policy
Brought to you by 100MHL
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Parents as Teachers Evidence-Based Home Visiting Model
Resource - Website/webpage
Brought to you by Parents as Teachers
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Get the Facts Handout for Expecting Parents
Resource
Brought to you by VYF
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Alcohol Use in Families
Resource - Website/webpage
Brought to you by AACAP
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Stable and Healthy Families
Resource - Data Bank/repository
Brought to you by Results for America
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Whole Family Approach Design Plan
Resource - Guide/handbook
Brought to you by Community Action Partnership
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Bright Spot: Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite Program
Resource - Model Policy
Brought to you by 100MHL
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Measuring the Burden of Child Care Costs
Resource - Blog
Brought to you by CHR&R
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Paid Leave for All
Resource - Website/webpage
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COVID Vaccine: What Parents Need To Know
Resource - Website/webpage
Brought to you by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
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Reducing Child Poverty in the US: Costs and Impacts of Policies Proposed by the Children's Defense Fund
Resource
Brought to you by Urban Institute
Published on 01/01/2015
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The Science of Early Childhood Development
Resource - Guide/handbook
Brought to you by National Scientific Council on the Developing Child
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 Related Topics


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Children and Youth