Model Family Programs for Delinquency Prevention
Rating * Model Target * 0-5 Speciality * Parent Training
Program * MELD
Description *

  MELD is a parent education program which uses peer support groups to develop confident and competent parents. The goal of the program, which was developed in 1973, is to strengthen families by (1) reducing family isolation that can lead to child abuse and neglect; (2) increasing parents' knowledge of child development; (3) increasing parents' ability to solve problems, make decisions and manage family life and (4) nurturing parents' personal growth.

MELD targets parents of preschool children and has been adapted to meet the needs of young, single mothers or single fathers, Hispanic and Southeast Asian parents, children, deaf and hard of hearing parents, first-time adult parents, and parents of children with special needs. MELD's curriculum and learning processes are usable by parents who are not highly literate, and recognizes and addresses everyday concerns of low-income parents.

MELD parent education groups meet for two years typically twice a month or as often as once a week. Using a carefully developed curriculum, the groups are facilitated by volunteers from the community who are carefully recruited and trained, and are provided ongoing support and supervision from a local MELD professional, who is certified in managing MELD programs. The comprehensive curriculum discusses health, child development, child guidance, family management, use of community resources, home and community safety, balancing work and family, and other issues related to the parenting needs of the target group.

MELD's success is enhanced by its careful replication processes which have moved the program into over 150 communities. Training, technical assistance and curriculum focus on quality program development and the achievement of program outcomes. A seven site study of the MELD for Young Moms program demonstrated a positive and significant shift in attitudes and beliefs toward parenting and nurturing children. Results include: (1) more appropriate expectations of child's abilities; (2) increased empathic awareness of child's needs and appropriate response; (3) reduced belief in the value of corporal punishment; (4) awareness that the child does not exist to please and love the parent, rather that the parents' purpose is to respond to the needs of the child. These attitudes are notably linked to what is known about characteristics of parent-child relationships that prevent child abuse and neglect, thus juvenile delinquency. Other MELD programs produce similar results, with evident impacts on reduction of isolation, decreased depression and increased knowledge of child development.

    Contact * Joyce Hoelting 
    Address* 123 North Third Street, Suite 507 
        Minneapolis, MN  55401
    Phone * 612 332-7563
    Email  * 
    Dept. of Health Promotion and Education

Funded by - Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention