What is Circle of Parents®?

The Circle of Parents® program offers peer support groups for anyone in a parenting and/or caregiving role. Through free group sessions, participants are provided a safe, confidential, and non-judgmental space to discuss the successes and challenges of raising children, share ideas, resources, and support, and build their confidence, skills, and knowledge as caregivers.

How it Works

Where: Circle of Parents® groups can exist anywhere in the community that is accessible and open to parents. Typically, groups are in family resource centers, schools, health clinics, religious institutions, etc. Many groups meet virtually over Zoom, and some groups even offer hybrid meetings.

Frequency: Circle of Parents® groups typically meet once a week. Weekly and consistent attendance is encouraged to assist in developing a support network and increase comfort within the group.

No Cost: Circle of Parents® groups are free to attend for all parents and caregivers.   

Leadership: Circle of Parents® groups are facilitated by a facilitator and parent lead. Both the facilitator and parent lead receive ongoing training, support, and technical assistance from the Circle of Parents Program Manager.

Content: Groups are open-ended and the topics are at the discretion of the group itself with the guidance from the parent lead and facilitator.

Focus Area: The Circle of Parents® model is adaptable to meet general or specialized needs of family demographics. For example, there are groups for parents in recovery, parents of children with special needs, fatherhood groups, groups for grandparents as caregivers, etc.

Children’s Circle

For many parents, attendance at Circle of Parents® is dependent on the availability of child care. To meet this need, Children’s Circle was created as a structured children’s program that provides a holistic approach to family support by giving children a nurturing atmosphere, supportive skill building and structured play opportunities while ensuring that parents have a safe, welcoming place to leave their children while they participate in Circle of Parents®.

The goal of Children’s Circle is to provide developmentally appropriate, skill-building activities that will increase children’s confidence and self-worth while providing fun and enjoyment. The Children’s Circle curriculum is comprised of 33 different lessons that the Children’s Circle Leader can utilize in any order. The Children’s Circle Leader attends a one-day training that incorporates the Protective Factors and Strengthening Families strategies unique to Circle of Parents® and Children’s Circle. The curriculum is designed to build social emotional competence in children and is also based on trauma-informed practices. In addition, the curriculum has been developed by child development experts with specialized knowledge on the impacts of caregiver substance use on children and infant and early childhood mental health.

Not all Circle groups have Children’s Circle yet, but this addition to the program is continuing to grow!

About the Model

Circle of Parents® is an evidence-informed model shown to improve the resiliency in children by increasing the Protective Factors in their environment through a support group for caregivers.

Parental Resilience: Resilience in managing stress and dealing with your life even when things get difficult.

Social Connections: Having a network of friends and family helps us feel secure, confident and empowered.

Concrete Support in Times of Need: Some problems are too big to solve alone. Knowing where to get help can make life easier.

Knowledge of Parenting & Child Development: There is no perfect parent, but knowing what to expect does make the job easier.

Social & Emotional Competence of Children: Help children develop skills so they can manage their emotions and build healthy relationships.

To learn more about the 5 Protective Factors, visit https://www.illuminatecolorado.org/protectivefactors/

“Being here with people that have been through the same things…it just makes you feel not alone.”

The Colorado Chapter

Illuminate Colorado leads the state chapter of Circle of Parents® in Colorado.

Illuminate Colorado is a statewide 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to strengthen families, organizations and communities to prevent child maltreatment. With a research-based approach that emphasizes building Protective Factors in families, Illuminate works to address systemic and multi-sector issues affecting the well-being of children, collaborating with partners at the state and national level to develop powerful programs, policies, and initiatives that keep kids safe.

Illuminate Colorado supports Circle of Parents® groups across the state to provide a safe, supportive, confidential, non-judgmental environment where parents can openly discuss their successes and challenges with the support of community agencies.

Want to join a group, but not sure where to start? Fill out this form and our program manager will reach out to answer any questions!

Interested in starting a Circle of Parents® group in your area? Fill out this form and we'll be in touch.

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