Madres a Madres

The Madres a Madres program is a four session parent training and support program developed by community promotoras, the Latino Health Access (LHA) leadership and staff, parents, and Drs. Lyndee Knox (LA Net), Nancy Guerra (Southern California Center of Excellence on Youth Violence Prevention, UC Riverside), and Cristina Jose-Kampfner (LHA & AltaMed).

The program combines findings from parenting research and a recent meta analysis of parent training programs completed by the CDC, and the local knowledge and experience of LHA staff, promotores and mothers from the target communities.

The parenting intervention is delivered through four 2 hour visits between a Madres Promotora (a local mother who has completed training as a promotora), and a mother with children between the ages of 6 and 12.

The home visit intervention uses a combination of direct instruction, experiential learning and social support to help immigrant mothers in the community to strengthen their relationship with their young children, learn positive discipline strategies, and connect with other mothers in the area for emotional support, and the opportunity to share ideas and resources. The overarching goal of the program is to build an engaged network of mothers and families able to support development of essential competencies in their children to improve the emotional well-being of the child, provide support in elementary school and during the high risk transition to middle school, and reduce risk for future involvement in health risk behaviors such as substance abuse and violence.

During the highly interactive home visit sessions, Madres promotors and mothers discuss concepts of child development, brain development, essential competencies needed by children to succeed in school, and essential competencies needed by parents to support their children; practice skills based on concepts from Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) for creating positive experiences with their child; and practice positive discipline skills.

Madres Promotoras use a combination of one to one sharing, didactic instruction using visuals to increase accessibility of the materials for mothers with limited formal schooling or reading skills, video clips, social modeling and role playing to engage mothers in the learning process.

The program is designed to support introduction of additional modules based on the local needs of the community including ones that address important public health concerns such as maternal health and well-being, childhood obesity, immunizations, injury prevention, etc.

A pilot study is currently underway of the Madres program in collaboration with the Southern California Center of Academic Excellence on Youth Violence Prevention with 200 families in Santa Ana California. The program incorporates many evidence-based activities such as components from Parent Child Interaction Therapy.

Future plans include addition of new modules to address PTSD and depression in immigrant mothers to respond to feedback from the LHA promotores and mothers, introduction of monthly group support and collaboration events led by the mothers, and introduction of Madres volunteer program for mothers interested in becoming more involved in their neighborhoods or buildings.

Bill Moyers recently aired a show on our partner LHA and one segment highlighted the work of our Madres Promotores. Click here to view the video.