NEP is a parenting intervention operating in the context of a broader early childhood policy platform called Chile Crece Contigo (ChCC). The intervention was adapted from the Nobody’s Perfect program in Canada, a long running group parenting intervention implemented within the public health system in Canada. NEP relies on a semi-structured curriculum that promotes knowledge about child development, parental self-care, positive parenting skills in caregivers, and the use of non-violent disciplinary strategies, helping caregivers to foster a nurturing home environment.
NEP targets parents with children aged 0 to 5 who are enrolled in the public health system. Parents are offered participation in the program during the regular health check-ups. The intervention can be applied to all parents who are interested in improving their parental skills, but it is more directly targeted to caregivers who are particularly vulnerable, such as adolescents, single parents, geographically or socially isolated households. Parents in these groups, and other parents which are in need of this type of intervention, can be identified by the health care provider (doctor or nurse) with whom they interact frequently. Households at very high risk (children with severe child developmental delays or disabilities, or high-risk parents with psychiatric problems or intra-household violence) are not considered eligible for NEP and are instead referred to services with more intensive engagements at local level.
The standard program (which we call NEP-Basic, or NEP-B) includes 6 to 8 weekly group sessions with 6-12 caregivers, facilitated by a trained moderator, and based on a curriculum that promotes positive parenting skills to improve cognitive stimulation, to manage child behavior with positive disciplinary strategies, and to improve their parental self-esteem. Each session lasts approximately two hours. An intensive version (NEP-Intensive, or NEP-I) was developed as part of the study as an additional evaluation arm. It adds to NEP-B two practical sessions with children in order to give caregivers the opportunity to interact with their child in a monitored environment and thereby receive more personalized feedback on their practices.