EPU Children’s Center Secures 5 Year Pilot Program Grant Offering Parent/Child Interaction Classes In Conjunction with The Department of Social Services

Media Contact
Alene Istanboulian

EPU Children’s Center Secures 5 Year Pilot Program Grant Offering Parent/Child Interaction Classes In Conjunction with The Department of Social Services

January 31, 2017—FRESNO, Calif.—The EPU Children’s Center is improving the lives of children and families by providing Parent/Child Interaction classes through EPU’s Learning About Parenting (LAP) program. EPU secured the 5 year pilot program grant from the County of Fresno in late 2016 and is the only program of its kind available in the Central Valley.

The Parent/Child Interaction classes are done on EPU’s campus for families involved in Child Protective Services whose goal is to reunify with their children. Historically, parent education classes and supervised visitation programs have been conducted separately. With the new pilot program, parents can apply their newly learned skills during supervised parent-child interaction in a supportive environment.

Parent/Child Interaction classes, facilitated in conjunction with the Department of Social Services, are held weekly and include four segments, totaling nearly four hours.

  • Simulated activity segment: LAP staff facilitates activities related to parent education curriculum.
  • Family-style meal segment: Parents and children share a home-cooked meal together while learning to engage with one another.
  • Reflective Practice segment: The children are taken to their respective foster homes, while EPU’s mental health clinicians facilitate productive dialogue where parents share about what went well, areas they can improve upon, etc.
  • Parent Education segment: EPU staff facilitates the Nurturing Parenting curriculum.

“EPU’s strength lies in engaging with families. Over the years, we’ve learned the importance of providing a warm, nonjudgmental approach to supporting families as it relates to their growth,” said Claudette Plascencia, LAP program manager. “EPU staff walks alongside parents in their journey. As we meet families, the first step is building a strong relationship with trust. Strong relationships make it possible to enact positive change.”

EPU’s LAP program is a comprehensive, culturally-responsive program that provides services to overburdened families facing extraordinary life challenges which place their children at risk for abuse and neglect. The LAP program provides home visitation, parenting classes, support groups, interactive play groups and advocacy for families needing linkages to additional services. The program targets teen parents, parents in recovery from substance abuse, and parents with developmental delays and their children from birth to twelve years of age.


About EPU Children’s Center (Exceptional Parents Unlimited)

For 40 years, the EPU Children’s Center has provided support for children and families facing extraordinary medical, developmental and parenting challenges throughout Fresno County. Today, the EPU Children’s Center serves over 950 children and families each week. The EPU Children’s Center’s staff of more than 100 therapists and early childhood specialists meet the critical needs of children and families through six specialized programs. For more information, visit www.epuchildren.org