KIPS TIPS June 2011: Assess What Matters to Children


For many programs, June is the month that annual reports, budgets and grants are due. In this special issue of KIPS TIPS, we share a resource to help you communicate to others why an observational assessment, like KIPS, should be included in family services.

Assess What Matters to Children:

Their Parents' Behavior 

Parenting behavior has consistently been proven to be one of the most important contributors to healthy child development and well-being. That is the main reason many family service programs focus on improving parenting. The movement toward evidence-based practices has sparked greater interest in assessing parenting outcomes. Although necessary, assessing fidelity to the program model is woefully insufficient.

Nine Ways Parenting Assessment Can Power Your Program

1. Documents evidence of parenting outcomes
2. Tailors services to individual parenting strengths & needs
3. Monitors progress and guides service planning
4. Reinforces parenting progress and confidence
5. Serves as a parenting check-up as children develop
6. Shifts staff focus from child to parent-child interactions
7. Offers a common language for staff, families & programs
8. Builds reflective practice during supervision
9. Informs continuous quality improvement for programs


Parenting assessment  


Observational assessment offers an objective means to assess what parents actually do, rather than what they report to do in surveys. It is the parent's behavior that impacts the child directly, so behavior is essential to assess.Programs need to assess parenting outcomes because improvement in parenting is often a stated goal. Even when implementing an evidence-based model with high fidelity, local programs serving diverse families and communities cannot be certain of their parenting outcomes due to regional, cultural, temporal, or other local factors. Thus, programs need to directly and routinely assess parenting to ensure their program's effectiveness and promote continuous quality improvement.

"[KIPS] tells you a lot about the parent-child interaction

and the bonding. It opens up the doorway to talk about

things that the parent might not be getting - and those

are topics that you wouldn't necessarily approach if

they weren't scored."

 . . . says a Healthy Families Supervisor


Observational parenting assessment documents outcomes, enhances family services and promotes continuous quality improvement. You can make the case for funding by using a reliable and valid instrument to prove that your program increases parenting quality. Furthermore, observational parenting assessment can strengthen your program, your staff and your families in numerous ways.

On the Comfort Consults website you'll find a free download describing Nine Ways Parenting Assessment Can Power Your Program Please feel free to share this paper with your colleagues to reflect on what observational parenting assessment can do for you and your program.

If you have discovered other powers of observational assessment, please let us know at

Where can I find the KIPS Online Training and Supports?

The online training and support systems use three separate web addresses. It's a good idea to bookmark each in your browser, so you can get to them when you need them. Here are the links:

On each login page is a password reminder feature. If you put in your username, which is usually your email address, the program automatically sends you an email with your username and password.

Subscriptions can be ordered at


Let's stay in touch in 2011,

Marilee Comfort & Phil Gordon


KIPS Parenting AssessmentComfort Consults - The KIPS People

POB 82, Cheyney, PA 19319