Pediatrics Supporting Parents

Pediatricians partnering with parents to promote social and emotional development.

This initiative has the ambitious long-term goal of improving pediatric primary care to foster social and emotional development in the same way that it focuses on physical health and cognitive development. Pediatrics Supporting Parents' ultimate vision is to help ensure that all children from birth to age 3 receive the supports they need to achieve kindergarten readiness and positive life outcomes.

The early years of life (birth to age three) represent a unique opportunity for pediatricians to work with families to support children’s healthy development. This is a time when families play a big role in their children’s social and emotional growth. It’s also a time when pediatricians can have a big impact on families—during these early years, families are especially involved, curious and open to new ideas.

We can make the most of this period by working at the family and pediatrics practice level to help pediatricians foster interactions between parents and children that support healthy social and emotional growth. And by focusing on at-risk children, we can help all families have access to the programs and resources needed to support their children’s early development.


Status: Active

November 2017 – April 2020

  • Who: 10-15 pediatric practices across the nation
  • Funder: The Silicon Valley Community Foundation Parenting Through Pediatrics Fund
  • Our Role: Leveraging its background in improvement science, NICHQ will provide oversight and technical assistance to support the pediatric practices as they test strategies, collect and analyze data, and report on findings that lead to sustainable improvement, which ultimately can be scaled nationally.

If you are interested in learning more about this project, email us at or view the full project charter

What Does It Take and Who Do We Need?

Improving pediatric care will be a long-term journey that involves partnering with key decision-makers. By the end of this journey, we hope to have:

  • Parents and families who are educated about social and emotional growth needs and can demand best practices and resources for their children.
  • Healthcare systems and practitioners who believe they have a role to play in social and emotional development, and will commit to investing in training and changing the way they practice.
  • Public and private insurance payers, particularly Medicaid, who reimburse for these services, ensuring feasibility and incentivizing healthcare practitioners to implement these strategies.
  • Existing programs that support social and emotional development in and around the pediatric channels and reach the children and families in need of additional resources.
  • Communities with city leaders who champion the needs of children and families, and provide local, tailored resources to support community needs.
  • Policymakers who support and incentivize programs that elevate the importance of social and emotional development in young children.
  • Philanthropy by funders committed to innovation that moves towards systems change, both in healthcare systems and in testing new payment models.
Child at pediatric practice
  • What gaps in the community present barriers to the effectiveness of improvement strategies?
  • How do we scale these improvement strategies to target different populations in various settings?

What Will We Uncover

Fundamentally, this is a learning investment to unlock an understanding of what works and is scalable. By the end of this first phase of work, we hope to have uncovered answers to the following questions:

  • What are promising strategies for helping pediatric settings improve children’s social and emotional development, parent-child bond and parental mental health?
  • How can these strategies be implemented efficiently and effectively for different populations, particularly low-income families and communities of color, in various settings?
  • What community infrastructure or conditions appear to enable strategies to be most effective for different populations and in different contexts?