NYSPEP'S mission is to promote and improve parenting education, in order to enhance parenting skills, knowledge and behavior.

NYSPEP E-News Archives




Request for Applications, November 2020

The New York State Parenting Education Partnership (NYSPEP) is a statewide cross- systems initiative designed to ensure all children grow up in nurturing families, by enhancing parents’* knowledge, skills and behavior. NYSPEP informs and supports close to 1,500 practitioners, program managers, researchers and policymakers to promote, provide and improve evidence-based parenting education. 

You can join this effort!

NYSPEP is accepting applications from local coalitions to strengthen community-based parenting education while engaging parents as well as professionals from multiple disciplines. We are looking for community coalitions that demonstrate leadership, commitment and determination to mobilize a broad movement to strengthen and support
all parents’ skills, knowledge, and talents. Up to four coalition sites will be selected to receive a 1-year award to receive training, technical assistance and a $5000 grant to support community identified objectives.

An introductory webinar to NYSPEP, our work, and this project will be held Friday, Dec 11 at 1:00. Communities planning to apply are strongly encouraged to attend.

 Link to the session is included here:

Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 821 0977 6413
Passcode: 063295
One tap mobile
+16465588656,,82109776413# US (New York)

 Application Deadline: January 22, 2021
Grant Announcement: February 8, 2021

How to submit the application:

The New York State Parenting Education Partnership Application is available at:

If you are unable to access this form, please contact Tamaé Memole at tmemole@preventchildabuseny.org


If you have questions regarding the application or NYSPEP, please contact
Tamaé Memole at (518) 421-1254 or email to: tmemole@preventchildabuseny.org

For complete details, visit our website here.


NYSPEP will be hosting a NYSPEP Summit on Workforce Quality for Parenting Education in New York State on Monday, January 25th, 2021.  A parenting curriculum or program is only as excellent as the professionals delivering the curriculum or program. NYSPEP is partnering with Cornell Cooperative Extension to look at the workforce that is engaged with parents to assure quality. How can we establish a statewide standard to make sure that the right people are doing this valuable work? What part can the NYSPEP Credential play in assuring competency and quality for everyone supporting parents across the state? Save the date and look for more details about this event in the next few weeks. If you have questions or ideas, please contact Meg Akabas at makabas@earthlink.net


Jackie Spencer, Senior Credentialed Parenting Educator, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tioga County

Parenting Educators and Family Serving organizations made swift shifts to continue reaching families while mitigating the risk of COVID-19 spread in early spring. At that time, many of us had not idea that the changes to program delivery would last so long. As we move into mid fall, many of us are still limiting face to face contact in order to protect vulnerable family members from potential exposure. Here are a few things we have learned from our efforts to reach families in the virtual context.

Some families are more likely to engage virtually than in person. Many parenting educators felt great apprehension to offering online programming. New skills needed to be learned very quickly and we weren’t sure if parents would engage. However, we have found that there is an audience for virtual programming. Parents with busy schedules and a high desire for anonymity have shared that they appreciate the option to tune in from home rather than coming out to face to face group sessions in the community. Families with adults and/or children with existing health risks, the value of engaging without face to face contact has been immeasurable.

Providing hard copy resources for at home learning helps. Parents have found ways to tune in to video conferencing or webinars using a variety of devices, however they may not have the software to view documents or a printer at home. Hands on learning is also essential for the majority of participants to ultimately put new ideas into practice. Parenting educators have been able to meet this need by preparing kits and packets for parents to receive by mail, pick up at a convenient location, or even by contactless delivery to their doorsteps. Armed with the resources, parents can complete reading or home practice exercises, reflect on their learning, post visual reminders around the home, or engage in a special craft or activity with their child. Home practice is far more likely to be completed when the resources are provided as families have so many things to do and items to gather already in this complicated time.

Flexible scheduling options can make the difference. With children out of child care and school settings much of the time or even intermittently for shorter periods of quarantine, parent and caregiver availability can shift. Offering opens for early morning or later evening groups can help. Parents and caregivers can provide valuable feedback about the time of day that they can best engage. For example, a group of parents meeting weekly for a virtual playgroup with their young children worked with the staff facilitating to plan the sessions for late mornings based on what worked best for their children.

Access to internet and devices varies widely. Many families still do not have affordable access to internet connection and connection to the internet remains unavailable in many parts of NYS. When families due have access, the service may not be reliable or fast enough for viewing a webinar or engaging in a video conference. Web cams or microphones may not be available on their devices or they may be tuning in from a phone which will allow all features of video conferencing to function. Many families do not have devices at all or the skills to use them. Parenting educators can be flexible with offering sessions by phone or sharing support through text messaging along with resource packets to better serve these families while maintaining social distance.

High Touch programming is still essential in some circumstances. As educators, we know that the most effective approaches do need to take place in person. Depending on the needs of the families and the program model, parenting educators have found ways to continue face to face offerings with the use of PPE, outdoor spaces, and limited numbers of persons for group programs. We recognize that the personal interaction is a core piece of our work and although we may continue to engage in virtual programming long term, we will continue to advocate for the resumption of face to face program delivery whenever it is safe to do so.


The National Parenting Education Network (NPEN) has launched the third installment of its year-long messaging campaign: “Parenting Education Matter.”  The latest message is “Parenting Education is for Everyone” and features photos of diverse families holding babies in various ways. This message illustrates that there is no 'one right way' when it comes to parenting, and EVERYONE can benefit from the support parenting education provides when it comes to making the best decisions for their family.  NPEN encourages everyone to share this message on their social media and other platforms. If you would like your organization’s logo added to the message, please email info@npen.org.

NPEN is grateful to its partners at Grom Social for helping making this messaging campaign come to fruition.


Webinar Alert: How to Incorporate Storytelling in your Work with Parents - Follow up to NYSPEP Training Institute 2020

This workshop was inspired by the NYSPEP’s recent training, Storytelling: A Tool for Resilience*, which provided a new and deeper understanding of how narrative process and practice promote resiliency and healing. Participants will develop tools and discuss and share ideas about how we can apply storytelling with confidence and success in supporting parents. The conversation will include implementing strategies for a range of formats (parenting classes, home visiting, counseling, etc.) and across different cultural groups. This will be a participatory session with questions and ideas from fellow parenting educators interested in incorporating storytelling into their work. (*Attendance at NYSPEP’s October Training Institute is not a prerequisite to attend this workshop. You can find a description of the Training Institute and the Resource List here.)

Meg Akabas is a NYSPEP Certified Parenting Educator and the recent Chair of the National Parenting Education Network (NPEN). The founder of New York City-based Parenting Solutions, she specializes in working with expectant parents and parents of young children and is an instructor in parenting, infant development, and infant care at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. She is the author of “52 Weeks of Parenting Wisdom: Effective Strategies for Raising Happy, Responsible Kids.” 

Length: 1.5 hours

Date: November 18th   1:00 - 2:30 pm EST

This workshop will support the following NYSPEP Parent Educator Credential competencies:

· Competency Area 5: Parent Development and Family Systems

· Competency Area 9: Strengths-based communication

· Competency Area 11: Working with Diversity

Register in advance for this workshop:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Grab Your Oxygen First: Tips to Manage Self Care*
Webinar Link

With our partner, the NY Zero-to-Three, we were thrilled to host Donna Morrison, the Deputy Executive Director of The Guidance Center of Westchester, for a conversation on taking care of yourself as a basic step in being an effective parent, parenting educator, caregiver.

In the October 6 webinar "Grab Your Oxygen First", Donna shared information on the influence of stress. She provided a “quiz” to gauge your stress level. Regardless of where you are starting, Donna provided a variety of easy-to-implement strategies for care.

Of the many tips Donna offered, a primary strategy is to manage your self-talk. One key idea: “be emotionally responsible for yourself and suspend judgment.” Other coping techniques: Remind yourself, you are doing the best you can. Feed your mind with thoughts of hope, truth, love. Do you know what brings you joy? Can you name your ‘happy thoughts’ and find your ‘happy place’?

A few of the specific steps you can implement today: enhance your physical environment with scents from candles, infusions, sprays; add real plants, consider low maintenance succulents; take breaks as you need them (get up, walk around, go outside if you can); add reminders and inspirations through posters and post-its; limit the time you spend listening to or reading news. Donna offered many more tips and tools. You can watch the full webinar here.

One final note from Donna: This is constant work, so “when all else fails, come back to your happy thought and start again.”

* Edited from the October 2020 New York Zero to Three Newsletter

Resources for Parenting Educators

Parenting Educators are continuously working to expand their knowledge and skills to best meet the needs of diverse families in an always changing world.  There are several online resources that can help you continue to expand your knowledge and skills. The two shared here are free and can be accessed at your convenience.

North Carolina Parenting Education Network (NCPEN) posts links to a variety of resources on parenting education on their website NCPEN.org.  One interesting category is a list of free trainings on topics linked to parenting educator competencies at   https://ncpen.org/free-trainings-for-credentialing-core-competencies

The Oregon Parenting Education Collaborative offers Essentials of Parenting Education Professional Practice, a free online course where students learn the foundations of professional practice for parenting educators through interactive technology, videos, graphics, and readings in a series of seven modules.    Parenting educators have the option of completing the full seven module course for a certificate of completion or focusing their learning on a specific topic within individual modules.  You can learn more and access the course at https://orparenting.org/parent-educators/essentials-modules/

Watch for more resources on parenting educator competencies in future issues of NYSPEP E-News.


Save the Date: NYSPEP Training Institute on October 20th

The New York State Parenting Education Partnership is excited to announce our Training Institute. Please mark your calendars for October 20th, 2020. The registration information for this virtual training institute can be found HERE.

The topic is Storytelling: A Tool for Resilience. The morning session will feature a keynote with Eva Tenuto, Executive Director of the TMI Project. The goal for this session is to increase understanding of the use of storytelling to support resilience and healing. The afternoon session will focus on group discussions and identifying next steps for incorporating Storytelling in your work. 

The NYSPEP Training Institute will support development in the following NYSPEP Parenting Educator Credential competencies:

Competency Area 5: Parent Development and Family Systems

Competency Area 9: Strengths-based communication

Competency Area 11: Working with Diversity 

October is DV Awareness Month 

 October is DV Awareness Month so we’d like to share some activities you can engage in at work or through social media. Here are some campaigns you can support and participate in.


· #1Thing – Encourage staff to share #1Thing they are doing or will do to help eradicate domestic violence in both your workplace and in the community. For staff working in the office, create a visible space for staff to share their own #1Thing. Send photos to all staff and encourage staff working remotely to send you their ideas. Though #1Thing might seem insignificant, collectively, we can create true change while creating a supportive space for victimized employees that lets them know their coworkers stand with them against domestic violence.  

· #ListeningFromHome Listen and look for signs of abuse when speaking with family, friends, and coworkers. Reach out to those you might be concerned about. If possible, set up check-ins by video. Share the NY State Hotline and community resources on social media. For more information, visit: https://nomore.org/campaigns/dvam/  (there’s some great social media items on this website – and Spanish.  Also the OPDV website also includes posters in many languages. 

· #NYGoesPurple4DV-Turn your agencies and offices purple and use this hashtag on all of your DVAM posts to join with us to show all survivors in NYS that we stand with them.

Be sure to follow OPDV on social media and visit www.opdv.ny.gov for the latest New York State DVAM plans! You can read the latest bulletin here

OCFS-Funded Prevention Programs Continue to Provide Support to Families During Pandemic

Community-Based Prevention Programs continue to creatively provide vital services to families safely while navigating the Covid-19 pandemic. Community-Based Prevention Programs and Healthy Families New York programs rapidly adapted their services to meet families’ needs during this critical time. In June alone, these programs made over 7,900 service provisions to families across the state. Services include home visits and parenting education done by phone or video, and connections to food and concrete supports. 

The following reports highlight the great work OCFS-funded prevention programs have accomplished April – June.




These reports are created by OCFS researchers. Additional reports will be posted as they become available.

Social Media--A Tool to Reach and Support Parents

School looks very different this year. Families are trying to be resourceful, and one place they are turning is social media. Parenting educators across the state can look for these groups in their communities and be there to offer resources, support, and information. Check and see if there are some you can find or ask your local school districts for any they may have made. This would be a great way to build connections and supports during this unique and challenging time.



“Life is no straight and easy corridor along
which we travel free and unhampered,
but a maze of passages,
through which we must seek our way,
lost and confused, now and again
checked in a blind alley.
But always, if we have faith,
a door will open for us,
not perhaps one that we ourselves
would ever have thought of,
but one that will ultimately
prove good for us.”
A.J. Cronin

During this unprecedented time of confusion, chaos, fear and unknown future we are challenged with stress in all aspects of our lives. Things have turned us upside down and have forced us to find creative ways of serving families. We can choose to embrace the change and move into it, through it, around it, over it or we can stop dead in our tracks and wait for things to go back to “normal”.

The futures of our children are far too important. As Parenting Educators, we know that the way to stabilize children is to stabilize their parents. Our work is far too important to abandon. It is time to embrace change and not be afraid of it.

Things to consider as we move into it, through it, around and over it (because stopping dead in our tracks is off the table):

  • Having things familiar can make us happy and maybe even complacent. We can tend to hold on very tightly to “this is how we’ve always done it”.
  • If you do not change you can become extinct. You can become “non-essential”.
  • What would you do if you were not afraid of the loss of a job or funding?
  • Pay attention to the signs, the writing on the wall. Talk to others, network, join a think tank, become a change agent.
  • Moving in a new direction can be exciting.
  • When you stop being afraid it frees you up to be creative, it helps you to remember why you love what you do.
  • Imagine yourself enjoying new ways of reaching families. The quicker you let go of the old way of doing business the quicker you will embrace new creative ways.
  • It is safer to move into, around it, over it, through it; than to stay “stuck” waiting for things to return to “normal”. That is when you become extinct/non-essential.
  • Holding onto old beliefs will not lead to embracing the new future.
  • When you see yourself enjoying new approaches you are freed up to changing course.
  • Noticing small changes early helps you to adapt to the bigger changes that are to come.

Change happens, anticipate change, monitor change, adapt to change quickly, change, enjoy change, be ready to change quickly and enjoy it again and again!!!

Written and submitted by Karen Sweeney, NYSPEP Senior Parenting Educator
Adapted from the Who Moved My Cheese? By Spencer Johnson, M.D.

To take this article another step further we would like to have you submit some of the new, innovative practices that you have tried to meet the needs of the families that you work with. They will be collected and shared in the October newsletter. Please submit to Karen Sweeney at markarensweeney@gmail.com Thank you.


NPEN is, once again, offering a full scholarship to the Zero to Three Conference October 5-9, 2020 (this year’s conference is, of course, virtual).  As most of you know, Wales was a dedicated member of the NYSPEP Steering Committee. Please share this opportunity with your networks and particularly with anyone you think might be interested and benefit from the experience. This initiative was extremely successful last year, and we are looking forward to giving another deserving parenting educator access to the latest research and to connections in the field.  

Information can be found here. The deadline is September 1st.


Every Person Influences Children (EPIC) Expands Online Support for Parents,  as families everywhere continue to navigate consequences of the past four months.

"Just because we've been doing this awhile, doesn't mean it's getting easier," says Tara N. Burgess, EPIC's Executive Director. "Parents are still navigating homeschooling, unemployment or trying to work from home, caring for their families and potentially dealing with health issues. They need as much support as possible, and that's what these cafés aim to do."

The groups will be hosted every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday via Zoom teleconferencing and are open to all parents. Participants will need a free Zoom account to join the group, but there is no cost associated with participating. 

The Tuesday and Thursday groups begin the week of July 20, and the Wednesday group is currently running. 

Follow this link for more information.


What Is It Really Like to Be A Credentialed Parenting Educator? An Interview with Dawn Bruce

During the summer 2020 round of credential applications, Dawn Bruce; one of the first to be a Credentialed Parenting Educator (CPE) took the plunge; instead of renewing her existing credential she bumped up to the Credentialed Senior Parent Educator (CSPE) level.

After providing exemplary work, we wanted to hear from Dawn as to the value of seeking/obtaining the PE Credential through NYSPEP.

Jennie: Parenting Education is an often misunderstood and under valued profession-what drew you to this field?

Dawn: Initially, I was drawn to Parent Education because of my own experience as a mother. I became a widow four days before my son was born and this life changing experience propelled me into unexpected new territories. I attended the NYSPEP Strong Roots Last a Lifetime Conference in 2012 and enjoyed the presentations that were given. There I learned more about the parent educator credentials, which piqued my interest and wanted to apply for it.  There was so much I needed to learn as a first-time mother, while experiencing grief and an array of emotions and challenges. I also saw the need and the importance of parent education, not only understanding a child’s development, but also recognizing that parent education and reflection are opportunities for parents to grow, heal and develop. Now that I have a young adult, there is so much that I can share with other parents.

My personal work with parents in early childhood observing their challenges, resilience and the many social conditions that impacts their lives has also been a catalyst and encouragement for me to learn more about parent education. As I continue my journey to grow professionally and personally, I see myself continuing to develop as a parent educator. Parenting can and is challenging and at the same time it is an opportunity for parents to get to know themselves better and I would like to assist other parents in this process.

Jennie: Renewals happen every 4 years for the credential. What inspired you to go for the next level of credentialing?

Dawn: My current role as a supervisor gave me the experience, I needed to apply for the CSPE level.

Jennie: This can be a long process of self-reflection, what was the value personally and professionally for you?

Dawn: The most valuable part of this renewal process was reflecting on how much I have grown professionally and personally since I last renewed my parent educator credential. An opportunity presented itself for me to become a supervisor, I accepted the challenge and was able to demonstrate my learning from this role and utilize it in my portfolio process.

Jennie: Because of the nature of funding and the challenges of running programming-what would you say to an employer about the benefit of prioritizing this credential as professional development?

Dawn: The value of this process is being able to reflect on the accomplishments, as well as the professional and personal development that takes place. I think about having a resume and how one must review their skills, places where you have worked and the education you have obtained. I would say that the difference in this process is that one must go further than giving snapshots of skills and experience. This process challenges you to go deeper and write about your learning and professional experiences and how it is utilized in your daily work.

Jennie: We spend a lot of our time in the tension of professional vs. personal lives, how do you relieve that tension?  

Dawn: I really enjoy coloring in adult coloring books. It is a great stress reliever and helps me to draw on my inner creativity.

It was a pleasure to connect with Dawn. Her work in the field will benefit other educators moving forward and we look forward to expanding our opportunities to work directly with her. In the meantime, Dawn is the author of: The Coming of A New Dawn: A book of inspirational thoughts - https://www.iuniverse.com/en/bookstore/bookdetails/109965-The-Coming-of-A-New-Dawn

The upcoming application submission deadlines are August 31st  and October 31st, 2020. 

Email credential@nyspep.org for more information or to request the zip file application.

Expand your professional affiliation today!

Join the NYSPEP Credentialing team next month as we discuss resources for meeting the parenting challenges in the age of Covid.

Virtual Professional Development Opportunity: P-3 Summer Institute Virtual Thursday Series

The New York State Education Department is partnering with the Council on Children and Families (CCF) to be able to provide the P-3 Summer Institute Virtual Thursday series. The Institute is supported by the NYSB5 Grant awarded to the CCF by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Care. The NYSB5 project seeks to strengthen partnerships, coordinate services, expand parent choice, and increase quality to ensure that all children in New York State receive equitable and comprehensive services to ensure lifelong success.

JULY 2020

Helping Families Plan for Children Should Parents Be Sidelined by COVID-19

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, families may want to make a plan for their children if the adults experience illness or hospitalization. This may be especially important for families considered essential workers or working "in person" with others.

Minnesota developed resources to help, and encourages others to adapt them for use with families in other states. The tools are available here.

Discipline is NOT A Dirty Word: Virtual Training on Discipline 

CCE Orange is hosting a Facilitator Training for Discipline is NOT a Dirty Word, coming up in September. This updated trauma-informed, resilience-building parenting curriculum supports parents and caregivers feel confident in their parenting skills and create nurturing environments for their children.

The training will begin on September 8th and run every Saturday through September 29th. For more information follow this link or e-mail.

NYSPEP 2020 Annual Report is Available

Wondering what NYSPEP was up to over the previous year? Check out our most recent Annual Report, hot off the presses. Follow our link to learn more about the work we have been doing.

JUNE 2020


A multi perspective integrated approach to ethical thinking and practice- how virtues, principles and relationships shape family work.

The webinar will be held on June 17th at 1:00 p.m.

Register Here


NYSPEP is excited to announce the 2020-2021 (Cohort 3) NYSPEP Grant Award Recipients! Special thanks to the NYSPEP Review Committee and all those across New York State who applied. This year our review committee has decided to fund the following Community Coalitions:

St. Lawrence County: Massena Community Services Coalition

Wayne County: Wayne County Partnership for Strengthening Families

Schuyler County: Early Childhood Community Coalition


This discussion will focus on the nature of grief surrounding COVID-19 recognizing that grief has no timeline and every pattern of grieving is individual. The presentation will provide real and practical suggestions and advice related to how to cope as a family and how to talk to, listen to and help children adjust and be supported. 

Life as we know it has been drastically altered by COVID-19 with worry about whether the world will ever be the same and anxiety about illness and even death cast over daily life. The losses in our daily lives are many including losing the presumption of health to the expectancies of daily life including food security for some. Grief is a normal process through which we all come to cope with and heal from losses in our lives. The work of grief includes: 1) expressing and regulating strong emotions; 2) shifting focus from the real to the remembered; and 3) internalizing and holding the good and positives that were part of  lost relationships and experiences. Unfortunately, some of our friends and family may  die from COVID-19 and both adults and children will have to process the grief as described above. For most, the grief related to COVID-19 will likely be temporary and more elusive related to missing what we had and did, much of which may return even in a way that is somewhat different and we will adjust to the “new normal”. While most people will not have to face the finality of death, but rather their familiar lives being disrupted and tinged with fear and anxiety. However, for those who must face the absolute grief that comes with loss of a loved one, it is important to provide more support through rituals and other means even if it must be provided virtually at this time. 

The webinar will be held on June 10th from 12:00-1:30 p.m.

Register Here