KIPS Parenting Assessment Developers

Marilee Comfort, Ph.D., M.P.H. is the founding partner of Comfort Consults, LLC, which focuses on parenting assessment, staff training and program evaluation for family service programs in health, education and social services. With support from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, she and her colleagues have developed the Keys to Interactive Parenting Scale (KIPS), a practical assessment tool for parenting behavior with web-based training for service providers to learn to observe parents and young children in their daily settings.

Dr. Comfort has worked as a home visitor, family/school liaison, evaluator and researcher. For nearly 35 years, she has trained researchers and service providers on parent-child interaction assessments. For the past 10 years, she has conducted evaluations with diverse programs, such as Early Head Start, regional children’s museums, infant/toddler/parent programs for families of normally developing children and those with special needs, community-based school readiness initiatives, and home visiting programs serving HIV-affected families. She has also evaluated educational partnerships to develop problem-based learning focused on health issues among low income minority youth. Prior to that, she gained 20 years of university-based federally-funded research experience in intervention programs for families of children with special needs, and for pregnant and parenting women and their children in substance abuse treatment. Dr. Comfort’s publications address parent-child interaction assessment, adolescent parenting, the characteristics and treatment outcomes of substance abusing women, and health-related problem-based learning. Dr. Comfort completed her Ph.D. in Early Childhood Special Education, as well as an M.P.H. in Maternal and Child Health at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and a postdoctoral fellowship in Maternal and Child Health at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.

Marilee CAC 5-2015



Phil CAC 5-2015


Philip Ray Gordon, Ph.D. has worked with industry, universities, schools, and nonprofit organizations to create customized learning systems. Dr. Gordon started his professional career as a full time research scientist. He became convinced that the most important problems confronting us involve education and development. Therefore in 1992, he turned from basic science research to education. Experiences in teaching caused him to become committed to human learning, which showed him the importance of early intervention. He joined Comfort Consults in 2005 to lead the training development for the Keys to Interactive Parenting Scale (KIPS). With support from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Dr. Gordon and his colleagues have developed KIPS eLearning, a convenient, interactive online training program for family service providers to learn to competently administer KIPS.

Dr. Gordon was formerly Vice President for Research and Systems Design with Kelliher & Associates, Ltd, an education consulting firm. Prior to this, he served as Director of Student-Centered Learning and Associate Professor of Biochemistry at MCP-Hahnemann University in Philadelphia. He was an Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Nutrition at Tufts University. Dr. Gordon did his postdoctoral work in Biophysics at Harvard Medical School. He received M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Nutrition from the University of Missouri and a B.S. degree in Nutrition from the University of California-Davis.


Gordon, P.R. & Comfort, M. (2013). How Parenting Assessment Strengthens Family Services. Journal of Health Visiting, 1(11), 626-32. 

Comfort, Marilee & Gordon, Philip R. (2013). KIPS has strong evidence of reliability and validity. Letter to the Editor, Journal of Health Visiting, 1(9), 540.

Comfort, M., Gordon, P.R. & Naples, D. (2011). KIPS: An evidence-based tool for assessing parenting strengths and needs in diverse families. Infants & Young Children: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Early Childhood Intervention, 24(1), 56-74.

Comfort, M., Gordon, P.R., English, B., Hacker, K., Hembree, R., Knight, R., & Miller, C. (March, 2010). Keys to Interactive Parenting Scale:  KIPS shows how parents grow. Zero to Three Journal, 30(4), 33-39.

Comfort, M., Gordon, P.R. & Unger, D.G. (2006). The Keys to Interactive Parenting Scale: A window into many facets of parenting. Journal of Zero to Three, 26(5), 37-44.

Comfort, M. & Gordon, P.R. (2006). The Keys to Interactive Parenting Scale (KIPS): A practical observational assessment of parenting behavior. NHSA Dialog: A Research-To-Practice Journal for the Early Intervention Field, 9(1), 22-48.

Streichert, L.C., O’Carroll, P.W., Gordon, P.R., Stevermer, A.C., Turner, A.M. & Nicola, R.M. (2005). Using Problem-Based Learning as a strategy for cross-discipline emergency preparedness training. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, November Supplement, S95-S99.

Comfort, M., Sockloff, A., Loverro, J., & Kaltenbach, K. (2003). Multiple predictors of substance abusing women’s treatment and life outcomes: A longitudinal study. Addictive Behaviors, 28(2), 199-224.

Celia LM, and Gordon PR. (2001). The use of Problem-Based Learning to promote critical thinking in an orientation program for novice
     nurses. Journal for Nurses in Staff Development, 17(1), 12-19.

Gordon PR, Rogers A, Comfort M, McGee B, & Gavula N (2001). Effects of Problem-Based Learning onlow-income, urban minority middle school students, Educational Horizons, 79, 171-175.

Comfort, M & Kaltenbach, K. (2000). Predictors of treatment outcomes for substance abusing women: A retrospective study. Substance Abuse, 21(1), 33-45.

Comfort, M, Loverro, J & Kaltenbach, K. (2000). A search for strategies to engage women in substance abuse treatment. Social Work in Health Care, 31, 59-70.

Comfort M & Kaltenbach K (1999). Biopsychosocial characteristics and treatment outcomes of pregnant cocaine dependent women in residential and outpatient substance abuse treatment. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 31(3), 279-289.

Comfort M, Zanis D, Whitely MJ, Kelly-Tyler A, & Kaltenbach, K. (1999). Assessing the needs of substance abusing women: Psychometric data on the Psychosocial History. Journal Substance Abuse Treatment, 17, 79-83.

Balestrei JJ, Gerrity P, Geller A, Gordon PR, Kundrat M, Smithyman K, & Zimmero S. (1998). Teams in a community setting: The AUHS experience. Quality Management in Health Care, 6, 31-37.

Gordon PR, Carlson L, Chessman AC, Kundrat ML Morahan PS, & Headrick LA. (1996). A National Collaboration for the Development of Interdisciplinary Education of Students in Nursing: Health administration and medicine in continuous improvement. Academic Medicine, 71, 973-978.

Comfort M & Kaltenbach K. (1996). The Psychosocial History: An interview for pregnant and parenting women in substance abuse treatment and research. In E Rahdert (Ed.) (123-142), NIDA Research Monograph Series No. 166. Rockville, MD: National Institutes of Health.

Smith DL, Hoersch AL, & Gordon, PR. (1995). Problem Based Learning in the undergraduate classroom. Journal of Geological Education, 43, 385-390.

Comfort M & Farran DC (1994). Parent-child interaction assessment in family-centered intervention. Infants and Young Children, 6, 33-45.

Harvey C, Comfort M, & Johns N (1992). Integrating parent support into residential drug and alcohol treatment programs. Zero to Three Bulletin, 13,11-13.

Helm JM, Comfort M, & Bailey DB (1990). Adolescent and adult mothers of handicapped children: Maternal involvement in play. Family Relations, 39, 432-437.

Comfort M, Shipley TE, White K, Griffith EM, & Shandler I. (1990). Family treatment for homeless alcohol/drug-addicted women and their preschool children. Alcohol Treatment Quarterly, 7, 129-147.

Comfort M (1988). Assessing parent-infant interaction. In DB Bailey & RJ Simeonsson (Eds.), Family assessment in early intervention (65-94). Columbus, OH: Charles E. Merrill Publishing.

Bailey DB, Simeonsson RJ, Winton P, Huntington GS, Comfort M, Isbell P, O'Donnell K, & Helm JM (1986). Family-Focused Intervention: A functional model for planning, implementing, and evaluating individual family services in early intervention. Journal of the Division
     for Early Childhood, 10, 156-171.

Simeonsson R, Bailey D, Huntington G & Comfort M. (1986). Testing the goodness of fit in early intervention. Infant Mental Health, 7, 81-94.