The organization’s most significant and successful method of countering child abuse is by working directly with at-risk parents through its signature program, the Exchange Parent Aide home visitation model. Through coordination with a nationwide network of community-based Exchange Club Child Abuse Prevention Centers, the program has helped more than 691,120 families break the cycle of violence, thus creating safer homes for more than 1,727,800 children.
Exchange Parent Aide evolved from the knowledge and experience of the dynamics surrounding child abuse and neglect. It is based on the work of Sharon Pallone in Little Rock, Arkansas, as well as research and concepts first introduced by Drs. Ray Helfer and Henry Kempe, 1960s pioneers in the field. Their leading research on the battered child syndrome expressed belief that most parents who abuse their children are not psychotic and were likely to have been abused themselves as children. Most abusive parents grew up without positive role models for good parenting and often have difficulty developing healthy and trusting relationships.
To ensure compliance and current practices associated with the model, Exchange provides training, accreditation, technical support, development and management guidance, and other supportive services to sites utilizing the Exchange Parent Aide program.
- Parental resilience is developed through teaching problem solving skills, modeling effective parenting, providing 24/7 support and referrals to services.
- Knowledge of parenting and child development is encouraged and developed through sharing skills and modeling strategies. Individualized help is provided in the home with the children.
- Social connections are developed and fostered through social-support, building the individual relationship and connecting the parents to others through group meetings, activities, and referrals.
- Social-emotional competence of children is developed through strengthening of the nurturing capabilities of the family; interaction of parents with the children is observed and modeling is provided for support of the children’s competence.
- Ensuring safety of the children, including attention to medical, dental, and mental health care needs, as well as safe housing and freedom from child abuse, neglect, and domestic violence.