Princeton University

We Are Unique

Conducted by Princeton and Columbia Universities, the Fragile Families & Child Wellbeing Study (Fragile Family Study) a group of nearly 5,000 children born in large U.S. cities between 1998 and 2000 (roughly three-quarters of whom were born to unmarried parents). As previously noted in “Our Story,” the following finding from the Fragile Family Study was the inspiration for the Foundation’s Begin with the Children’s Project:

“When intervention (of parents of newborns) is begun at the hospital during the “magic  moment (of birth),” such programs have a better chance to succeed in the long-term. The parents’ dedication is more sustainable when they become excited about the program at the very beginning of the child’s life because their motivation and optimism about their future is strongest at the child’s birth. Programs that take advantage of this motivation are more likely to have long-term success.”

A unique feature of the Begin with the Children project is that it engages parents in birthing centers to enroll them in our parenting plan. Enrolled parents receive a Parenting Kit in the hospital. By July 1, 2019, about 7,000 families were enrolled. Now into its 5th year, parents receive monthly parenting information, ideas and principles starting about two weeks after they leave the birthing center and continuing on a monthly basis thereafter.

In 2016, the National Academy of Medicine issued its Parenting Matters: Supporting Parents of Children Ages 0-8 Report. The Fragile Family Study and National Academy Report confirm and validate each other’s positions in that they both advocate for early intervention for the best results in helping strengthen families. Click here for a short report.

However, while the Fragile Family Study limits its focus to “fragile families,” the National Academy Report advocates wide-scale intervention of all families.

In summary, the Foundation’s Begin with the Children (BWC) project is unique for the following reasons:

  • BWC validates the findings of the Fragile Family Study by successfully engaging parents of newborns in birthing centers. It is the only known effort made to substantiate the benefits flowing from intervention in birthing centers during the “magic moment” following birth.
  • BWC engages all parents of newborns who keep their babies, thus achieving the wide-spread intervention called for in the National Academy Study.
  • BWC follows the recommendations found in both the Fragile Family Study and the National Academy Report by providing ongoing monthly support.
  • BWC unleashes the power of parents through education and motivation, changing ordinary parents into “Productive Parents.” Productive Parents, in turn, have the power to change communities by more effectively rearing and teaching their children to be productive members of society.