KIPS TIPS April 2012: Improving Parent Reflection Using Parenting Assessment

Thanks to your support, Voices From the Field is a recurring feature of KIPS TIPS.  We hope you enjoy learning about the work of others and will consider sharing your experience with the KIPS Community.  Also, please join us at the KIPSter Connection, the KIPS user email discussion group, to explore using KIPS in more depth.


Using the KIPS Parenting Assessment to Help Parents Reflect  

By Yolanda Beltran 

 First 5 Program of Catholic Charities Santa Clara County, California  

Families are referred to the First 5 Program from Santa Clara County's Mental Health Call Center, Self Referral, and Pediatrician. Based on an initial evaluation, which includes a KIPS assessment, families are offered Therapeutic or Home Visiting Services. Families with trauma, emotional or attachment issues are offered therapy, while families needing primarily parenting support are offered home visiting. We serve a very diverse set of multicultural families with children 5 years and under, that qualify for Medi-Cal. 

Beyond using the KIPS parenting assessment to decide which services we offer, KIPS is used in goal planning. The three groupings of items, Building Relationships, Promoting Learning, and Supporting Confidence provide a guide for our service planning. KIPS gives us more comprehensive insights into the parent-child interaction, pointing to distinct behaviors upon which we can focus our goals. It helps us see things we hadn't noticed before using the tool.   

In working with families we first invite the parent to watch the video during a home visit and reflect on how she or he did on each of the 12 behaviors. We give the parent the list of the 12 KIPS items to use while we are watching the video (available in English or Spanish in the KIPS Library-Handouts-KIPS for Parents). Through our conversation we can identify his or her strengths, and most often we can agree on a behavior that needs work as a goal. Then we use the KIPS Reflective Questions and Activities Chart* (available in the KIPS Library-Tools) to guide our work together. When the family has made progress on one goal, we can then move on to the next behavior we agreed on.

What I really enjoy about assessing parenting is seeing how the families improve, and that they can recognize and reflect on their gains. We've had a positive response about KIPS from parents, mostly because of the way we get them involved in assessing their play interactions along with us.

Angie and Dad's Story

One memorable story involves Angie, age 4 years, who currently lives in two different household living environments because her parents are divorced. Angie's father has recently started seeing his daughter on a regular basis every other week. Prior to these arrangements, Dad had not been in Angie's life consistently. He has remarried and now has a new child with his new wife.  Dad is seeking services because Angie tends to cry for her mother when visiting her father.  

Angie is struggling with adjusting to the dramatic changes in her life which include having a new baby sister and transitioning to the new living arrangements.  Through the initial evaluation process it was determined that Angie and her family could benefit from therapeutic services.

How did the KIPS parenting assessment enter into this story? Read on . . . 

When working with Angie and her father, KIPS played an important role in identifying which parenting behavior to focus on.  While observing the video with Angie’s father, we found his ratings to score high in promoting learning items but low in building relationships items.  We worked together with Angie’s father using the KIPS reflection questions to identify which area of concern to focus on.  We found that building the bond and the connection with his daughter would be most effective in establishing a stronger relationship.  After identifying the need within the family, the KIPS Activity Chart was helpful, because it identified and reminded Angie’s father of certain concepts to practice each week to support and strengthen his relationship with his daughter. 

Feel free to chime in with your ideas via the email discussion group, KIPSter Connection.  Write Phil at to join the KIPSter Connection.


New Tools in KIPS Library!  

Spanish translations of the

KIPS Activity Chart and Promoting Responsive Parenting

Go to KIPS Library-Tools-Supporting Parents  


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