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Julienne Smerlinder
219 N. 2nd St., Ste. 200
Minneapolis, MN 55401-1453

(612) 332-7563           Fax: (612) 344-1959

Family Skills Training Speciality
1-18 years Target
Model Rating

MELD is a community-based parent education program that uses group-based service to deliver quality parent education and to replace the sense of community connectiveness that is missing in families' lives. Parent facilitators are drawn from the local community and act as both facilitator and "mentor," demonstrating that high standards of family success can be achieved within their culture and community. These facilitators are carefully recruited and trained, and are provided ongoing support and supervision from the local MELD Site Coordinator who MELD certifies to manage MELD programs.

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, 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 addresses everyday concerns of low-income parents.

MELD's peer discussion 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 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 secured by its careful replication process which has moved the program into over 200 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 juvenile delinquency. Other MELD programs produce similar results, with evident impacts on reduction of isolation, decreased depression and increased knowledge of child development.


Implementation Costs:

The cost for full-time staff members to deliver the program to four groups of highly stressed populations (80 families) in the first year is $28,000 and $30,000 in the second year. Half-time costs for four groups of less stressed populations would be $14,000 in the first year and $15,000 in the second year. MELD site coordinators are not entry-level employees. Previous experiences could be in areas of community development, outreach, training/presentation, supervision, group participation or working with parents in other capacities. It is helpful when the site coordinator can reflect upon the experiences and culture of the targeted population served. Total implementation costs (including training costs described below) for staffing, local travel, child care costs, food, administrative expenses, curriculum, etc. are typically $47,000 in the first year and $55,000 in the second year.

Training Costs:

Replicators of the MELD program receive five days of Initial Site Coordinator Training, 30 hours of technical assistance, and site visits to certify local MELD trainers of group facilitators. The MELD model is implemented by one site coordinator who is certified; however, MELD affiliates can bring up to three additional staff to initial training in Minneapolis, and general assistance is provided to executive directors. The replication package costs are $9,000 a year for two years or $18,000. This fee includes MELD's travel costs for two site visits. Also included are program management manuals and parenting materials for the first group (value = $1,200). Replicators incur costs of travel and per diem for those attending Initial Site Coordinator Training for five days, and a second year seminar in Minneapolis for three days. In year 3 and beyond, MELD's affiliation fee is $1,500, including technical assistance, yearly seminars, and other services. (For information about staff development training for agencies not affiliated with MELD, please call the program developer.)


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Dept. of Health Promotion and Education