Creating 'Family' Among Community Stakeholders Using an Innovative Approach to Enrich and Empower the Lives of Parents and Children.

What if a community joined hands to empower parents to break a cycle of adverse childhood experiences and promote happy, resilient children?

Photo of Barbara Sheppard
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Founding Story: Share a story about a key experience or spark that helps the network understand why this project got started or a story about how you became inspired about the potential for this project to succeed.

In 2012, the Cabarrus Health Alliance (CHA) embarked on a journey with Triple P America (TPA) that would forever change the way our community engages parents. The impetus for this partnership emerged from a community’s passion for children, and a desire to develop an innovative approach to support families in a way that would inevitably reduce adverse childhood experiences. Sitting on a child fatality task force was a constant reminder as to why support for children and parents is of vital importance. The opportunity to partner with TPA coincided with the Cabarrus County Community Needs Assessment process, which fueled the desire to develop a plan of action to help children and families in our community. During the data sharing process, community stakeholders learned that substantiated cases of child abuse and neglect had been rising in Cabarrus over the past decade. Our child maltreatment substantiated rate of 12.8% was much higher than the state rate of 8.1%. It was clear there was work to be done. Being confronted with the child maltreatment data and hearing the heartbreaking stories on the effects of adverse childhood experiences moved our community to action. This call to action resulted in an extremely successful partnership with Triple P America. Our participation in a statewide collaborative provided insight into how vital this intervention is to ALL parents. Cabarrus’ successful participation with TPA has set the stage for scale-up in communities across the nation.

Which categories describe you? (the answer will not be public)

  • White (for example: German, Irish, English, Italian, Polish, French, Caucasian)


Location: Where is your organization headquartered? [State]

  • North Carolina

Location: Where is your organization headquartered? [City]


Location: Where is your project primarily creating impact? [State]

  • North Carolina

Location: Where is your project primarily creating impact? [City]

The Triple P project primarily impacts the cities of: Concord, Harrisburg, Kannapolis, Midland, and Mt. Pleasant. However, our specific project also serves as a lead for the North Carolina State Learning Collaborative. This experience allowed us to develop and share best practices and processes that allowed us to impact change at a broader level.

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Parenting can be one of the most complex minefields to navigate in life; yet it is one of the most influential factors in a child's life course trajectory. Cabarrus experiences a high prevalence of child maltreatment/trauma. The reality of low-literacy, unemployment, and under-resourced services in the community negatively impacts the physical, emotional, and social well-being of children and families for multiple generations. The need to develop a new service delivery model to address the problem was evident. CHA partnered with Triple P America to address child maltreatment using an evidence-based program to train gatekeepers in the community who regularly interact with parents and families. Our project is impacting social norms and arming providers and parents with best parenting practices. Destigmatizing the need for parental support has been an essential element to child well-being.

Research shows that experiencing adverse childhood trauma can have profound, negative consequences that are passed down from generation to generation. In Cabarrus County, leveraging an evidenced-based parenting approach that utilizes a public health lens is proving to be an effective method for breaking a cycle of life altering pain.

Triple P America and the Cabarrus Health Alliance embarked on a journey that would forever change the way our community engages parents. This experience led to a culture of collaboration that is specifically geared to facilitate positive outcomes among the families we serve. The impetus for this partnership emerged from a community’s passion for children, and a desire to develop an innovative approach to support families in a way that would inevitably reduce adverse childhood experiences.  Triple P (Positive Parenting Program) with its focus on a self-regulation, harnesses the power of the family to effect change by encouraging skills in children that help them focus and prioritize tasks, set and achieve goals, control their impulses and maintain social relationships. Parents learn new ways of responding to stressors not just related to the parenting role, but life in general. This self-regulatory framework then gives parents greater capacity to encourage development of important and similar skills in their children. These are the kinds of skills that can drastically change a child’s life for the better and bring benefits to entire communities. 

In Cabarrus, the Triple P project created an opportunity for collective impact through establishing new cultural norms that resulted in positive outcomes in the areas of out of home placements, child abuse, and enhanced communication among parents and children as well as among family serving organizations. The success of Cabarrus' implementation model was further affirmed by state evaluation reports. Out of the thirty-one counties funded throughout North Carolina, 54% of ALL families reached were seen by the Cabarrus County initiative.


Is your model focused on any of the following traditionally underserved communities?

  • Communities of color
  • Children who are differently abled
  • LGBTQ or non-binary individuals
  • Low-income communities

Does your model work within any of the following sectors?

  • Childcare
  • Child and Family Services
  • Community Development and Empowerment
  • Criminal Justice
  • Education
  • Mental Health
  • Other

If you chose "other," please share the sector you work within here:

Public and Private Pediatric Clinics, Private sector counseling services.

Year Founded


Project Stage

  • Scaling (the solution has passed the previous stages, and the next step will be growing its impact on a regional or global scale)

Example: Walk the network through a specific example of what happens when a person or group engages with your solution.

From the onset, Cabarrus strongly believed a systems-level approach would greatly increase our opportunity for successful health outcomes for children. Throughout the project, CHA staff consistently operated with this approach in mind as they supported Triple P practitioners. CHA developed a peer support structure that provided a means for enhanced collaboration among practitioners. As a result, a new systems of care model emerged that influenced how practitioners engaged parents. Under this model, Triple P practitioners of various family-serving agencies strategically collaborated to provide optimal, comprehensive care to parents. Agencies saw first-hand that a coordinated approach resulted in healthier outcomes for children.

Impact: What was the impact of your work last year? Please also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Enhanced collaboration among practitioners led to palpable results. In the past year alone, Cabarrus Triple P practitioners have reached 4,604 caregivers and impacted 5,883 children. New norms for inter-practitioner collaboration and parent engagement were established through a peer support model where practitioners engaged in effective peer coaching. Participants experienced the power of knowledge sharing as many practitioners from different agencies served the same families, further enabling the improvement of service provision. At post intervention, practitioners reported having achieved significant outcomes among the most difficult cases, many of which resulted in successful reunification. The newly established norms have large implications for breaking the cycle of adverse childhood experiences by improving the physical and emotional wellbeing of children and the family unit.

Organization Type

  • government

Annual Budget

  • over $5mil

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is your solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

CHA was intentional to design the project with sustainability in mind. A nominal incentive was offered in early implementation to encourage partner buy-in which was a vital component in achieving a community culture of ownership. The results? Collective impact! Partners quickly saw Triple P as an effective tool and responsively incorporated the repertoire of services within their agency budgets. Further funding would enable additional scale-up.

Unique Value Proposition: How else is this problem being addressed? Are there other organizations working in the same field, and how does your project differ from these other approaches?

While many parenting programs create positive impacts for families, Triple P is unique in its public health approach. The aim is to have parenting support available for all parents in the community. By offering a variety of formats with different levels of intensity in many locations throughout the community, parents have options of where, what kind, and with whom they access support. A coordinated communications campaign helps parents be aware of support options and breaks the stigma of seeking support. Finally, Triple P provides a common language across practitioners supporting families.

Reflect on the Field and its Future: Stepping outside of your project, what do you see as the most important or promising shifts that can advance children’s wellbeing?

Supporting children's wellbeing cannot be addressed through any one magic pill. It takes collective effort across multiple initiatives and sectors and is best achieved through community collaboration. When agencies break out of their silos to communicate and collaborate, there is hope for truly understanding and meeting the needs of children and families. Providing parents, youth, and communities with a TRUE understanding on the consequences of childhood trauma and arming them with proven, manageable strategies would be a great start in positively impacting a child’s AND parent's wellbeing.

Source: How did you hear about the Children’s Wellbeing Challenge? (the answer will not be public)

  • Other

Referral: If you discovered the Challenge thanks to an organization or person other than Ashoka, who was it? (the answer will not be public)

Michelle Hughes, Executive Director of NC Child: The Voice for North Carolina's Children.

Program Design Clarity

a)Cabarrus County children/families are our ultimate beneficiaries. b)Parents are taught evidence-based strategies for dealing with common to complex child behavior issues. c)Accredited Triple P providers in multi-sector family-serving agencies provide services within regular visits with parents by simply incorporating Triple P tools within their existing daily scope of work. d)Cabarrus developed a strategic service delivery model that perfectly complimented the Triple P approach: multi-level partner engagement, unique peer support model, and a systems level focus on new community norms.

Community Leadership

The project created buy-in from its inception by eliciting feedback from community stakeholders in the strategic planning process, which included members from multiple sectors to ensure equity in representation of our constituents. They continued to serve as the leadership coalition for the project, the entity that provides feedback for the design, collection, analysis, dialogue, and course correction of data from program results and activities.

Age of Children Impacted

  • 0-1.5
  • 1.5 -3
  • 3 - 5
  • 6 - 12
  • 12+

Spread Strategies

Locally: a court-system partnership is being leveraged. Statewide: CHA supports the strength & growth of Triple P by sharing successes and challenges. Nationally/Internationally: CHA partners with Triple P America (TPA) to disseminate & serves as a contact for new initiatives. TPA has training, accreditation, & implementation support teams to assist newly interested communities. Advocacy & Policy work promoting child wellbeing is also key goal.

Reflect on how your work helps children to thrive. How are you cultivating children’s sense of self, belonging, and purpose through your model?

Delivering parenting support with a common community language + parents having access to support through a variety of access points = more parents equipped with concrete strategies that help them build strong relationships and effectively manage everyday interactions with their children. Practitioners work with parents in a way that builds competence and confidence, so that parents can in turn promote child competence, resilience, and autonomy.

Leadership Story

My background as 1 of 13 siblings in a blended family gave me a unique perspective on family/child wellbeing. I am certain this nontraditional (and some would argue dysfunctional) start in life is what led me to choose Social Work/Public Health as a path to positively impact my piece of the world. My passion to serve children and families started at a very young age and seemed to be intuitive. I have seen firsthand the magic that can occur when children are supported. Adversely I have seen the tragedy that occurs (at the individual, family, community, and national level) when they are not.

What awards or honors has the project received? (Optional)

Due to best practices developed within the Triple P project, we were one of only two sites chosen by the Duke Endowment to participate in an implementation framework study. Additionally, we have been chosen to share our journey in professional conferences worldwide including Ireland and Australia.

Organization's Twitter Handle


Organization’s Facebook Page (URL)

Leader's LinkedIn Profile (URL)

Evaluation results

4 evaluations so far

1. Relevance: Does this project seem to help children (ages 0 to 12 years) develop a strong sense of self, belonging, and purpose?

5 - Yes, this is great! The project lays out a strong, compelling case for how its model nurtures children’s wellbeing. - 50%

4 - It seems like a good fit, and the model talks explicitly about children’s wellbeing. - 25%

3 - I think so. The project seems related to children’s wellbeing, but the logic is vague. - 25%

2 - Not sure. The project doesn’t have much to do with wellbeing, or it doesn’t give enough information. - 0%

1 - Nope, this project definitely doesn’t fit the challenge brief (e.g., It doesn’t help kids younger than 12, isn’t in the U.S., etc.) - 0%

2. Innovation: Does this project tackle children’s wellbeing from a new angle?

5 - I loved this! The project describes a novel model that addresses important cultural or systemic barriers. - 50%

4 - This is pretty cool. The project is addressing an important problem in a new or compelling way. - 25%

3 - I feel like there’s something there, but I want more details about what makes it distinctive. - 25%

2 - It’s a good project, but I’ve seen others like it before. - 0%

1 - It was confusing or hard to tell what it made it different. - 0%

3. Social Impact: What is this project’s potential for creating positive social impact?

5 - Lots of potential. This project is achieving impressive results, and it’s growing quickly. It could absolutely inspire changes in the ways we approach caring for kids nationally, across sectors (e.g. childcare, healthcare, education). - 50%

4 - Pretty good potential. This project demonstrates significant positive impact so far, and it could scale regionally or nationally one day and fundamentally change how a system operates (e.g. childcare, healthcare, education). - 25%

3 - Budding potential. This project is creating local impact, but it would take a few adjustments before it could scale. - 25%

2 - Some potential. This project demonstrates some initial positive impact, but it would require major changes before it could scale. - 0%

1 - Limited potential. This project has great intentions, but it looks like it does not include key drivers of a shift towards children’s wellbeing. - 0%

4. Overall, how do you feel about this idea?

5 - This idea rocked my world. It’s awesome! - 50%

4 - This idea seems really exciting. With a little more polishing, it’d be among my favorites. - 0%

3 - I think the idea is great, but it needs some work before it moves onto the next round. - 0%

2 - I liked it fine but preferred others. - 25%

1 - It didn’t make my heart beat faster. Needs significant revisions. - 25%

5. Offer some feedback. Where should this participant spend some time revising?

DEFINING THE PROBLEM. Make sure to articulate the root causes or main barriers of the social issue your project addresses. (Founding Story, Problem, Solution). - 0%

CLARITY OF MODEL. Make sure to mention (a.) the beneficiary, b) the main activities, and c) how those activities drive social impact. Keep it streamlined! - 50%

MARKETPLACE. Make sure to research other players in this space and articulate how this project is different. I didn’t get a complete sense of how this project compares to others. - 0%

IMPACT POTENTIAL. Make sure to use specific numbers to describe what your project has achieved so far! And consider how you might scale the model or its insights, through partnerships, trainings, or franchising. - 0%

WRITING STYLE. Try to stay concise and make it vivid. Avoid jargon. - 0%

Nothing stands out! I thought it was great. - 100%


Join the conversation:

Photo of Christine Mason

Thank you for your work with families and communities. Parenting is never easy and for some it is much more difficult. Children who grow up without parents who have not understood their roles in parenting often later struggle as adults, often seeking to figure out what they should do in the myriad situations that arise. In truth, a huge number of families need parenting support and community partnerships are critical to turning around decades of problems.

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