A History of Innovation

ethelbw Parent Services Project was established in 1980 as a small demonstration project to support families in four child care centers in the San Francisco Bay area. We were charged with identifying an effective way to promote family well-being and children’s healthy development. Our founder, Ethel Seiderman, had a vision that strengthening parent participation in childcare programs could have a huge impact on both children and their families. Evaluation results showed that this innovative approach not only enhanced the parenting skills of the participants but also reduced their levels of stress and depression. Its success quickly made it a nationally replicated model for family support in early care and education environments. In the early 2000’s, five of the programs that utilized the PSP model were recognized as exemplary programs by the national Center for the Study of Social Policy under its “Strengthening families” initiative.

Today, PSP’s work to strengthen families continues in early childhood settings and K-12 schools, prevention and intervention programs and community services. We have developed training programs and community-based services that focus on family engagement and parent leadership in a range of settings. We have grown by leaps and bounds since that first demonstration project more than 43 years ago. But throughout our history, and in all of our current programs and services, some things have never changed. We believe that the family is the one true constant in a child’s life. Our work, therefore, consistently reinforces the importance of family engagement and leadership as an essential part of any effort, program or system that reaches children.