Step-by-Step Parenting Program

Placement on the Continuum of Evidence Promising Download icon Download PDF
Target Population: 
Individuals with Disabilities, Parents,
Target Audience 

This program is delivered to parents with intellectual disabilities who have children 0 to 3 years old who are at risk of being ignored or mistreated due to a deficit in parenting skills and is intended to impact parents and children.


The Step-by-Step Parenting Program©, a community- and family-based parenting program, is designed to teach participants necessary and basic child care skills.  


Results from several small internal randomized controlled trials demonstrated that participants in the training group showed significant improvements in child care skills compared to those in the control group, and these skills were maintained at follow-up.  At post-test, scores of participants in the training group were not significantly different than those of non-handicapped comparison group participants.  In addition, mothers in the training group had more interactions with their child, and the children of mothers in the experimental groups vocalized and verbalized significantly more than the children of mothers in the control group.


Suitably educated home visitors facilitate the Step-by-Step Parenting Program.  This program is designed to simplify processes used in fundamental child care practices in an effort to decrease parental negligence and alternative home placement and increase a family's essential support framework and children's well-being.  This program divides crucial child care skills into small, manageable steps to help participants learn and master them.  Parent training consists of the following:

  • Using verbal instructions;
  • Examining picture books that display each step of a task;
  • Modelling of each step by a trainer;
  • Offering feedback on the mother's performance; and
  • Providing tangible reinforcement in the form of coupons that can be used for items, such as public transit tickets, children's clothing, and toys.

Child-care skills covered in the program include diapering; treating diaper rash; toilet training; bathing; washing hair; preparing formula; bottle feeding; cleaning and sterilizing baby bottles; feeding solids; burping infant; child, parent, and home cleanliness; preventing electric shock; preventing cuts, burns, and bruises; preventing poisoning; when to call the doctor or when to call 911; and sleeping and crib safety.

In addition to child-care skills, trainers also spend time addressing other issues, which can include finding a new apartment, helping parents read a letter from an agency, and discussing family problems.

Previous Use 

Previous use information was unavailable.


On-site or off-site training is available and recommended.  Introductory training for up to 100 participants lasts 1 day.  More extensive training for up to 20 participants is also available and can last up to 3 days.  Please contact Dr. Maurice Feldman for more information.


Considerations for implementing this program include ensuring home visitors have the background knowledge and education necessary to implement the program; obtaining participant buy-in; understanding the program manual will need to be purchased from the developer; and acquiring necessary equipment, including videorecorders and laptops, to record parenting skills and parent-child interactions for instructional purposes.

The Clearinghouse can help address these considerations. Please call 1-877-382-9185 or email


If you are interested in implementing Step-by-Step Parenting Program, the Clearinghouse is interested in helping you!
Please call 1-877-382-9185 or email


The average length of the program is 2 years; although, this can vary for each participant.  Home visits are conducted between one and three times a week and last 1 1/2 to 2 hours each.  


Implementation costs were unavailable.

Evaluation Plan 

To move Step-by-Step Parenting Program to the Effective category on the Clearinghouse Continuum of Evidence at least one external evaluation must be conducted that demonstrates sustained, positive outcomes.  This study must be conducted independently of the program developer.

The Clearinghouse can help you develop an evaluation plan to ensure the program components are meeting your goals.  Please call 1-877-382-9185 or email


Contact the Clearinghouse with any questions regarding this program.
Phone: 1-877-382-9185 Email:

You may also contact Dr. Maurice Feldman by phone 1-905-688-5550 EXT 4894, fax 1-905-378-5719, email, or visit

*Resources and associated costs reflect those identified at the time of fact sheet publication.