The Attachment Biobehavioral Catch-Up (ABC) Program
To nurture parent-child relationships through science-based practice and community partnership.
We envision a society and culture in which every parent and child is provided the means, encouragement, and support for their relationship to thrive. By partnering with parents and communities through evidence-based practice, we seek to recognize and build upon parents’ strengths during an infant and toddler’s critical years for development. Every parent deserves a champion for their sensitive parenting, and every child deserves the foundation of a nurturing relationship.
About our organization:
ABC Parenting, alongside local community stakeholders, agencies, and home visitors, and families, disseminates a parenting program, the Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up (ABC), to build resilience in families and communities for infants and toddlers between birth and 4 years of age. ABC is an evidenced-based home-visiting program that partners with parents to support young children exposed to early adversity. ABC works. A professor and researcher at the University of Delaware, Dr. Mary Dozier, developed ABC over 25 years ago and has rigorously tested the program through multiple randomized trials. For this research, there has been continued partnership between Dr. Dozier’s lab and communities deeply affected by historical racism and poverty. Remarkable results were found with children’s attachment, biological regulation, impulse control, language, brain development, and even DNA methylation that persist at least into adolescence. The program is endorsed by the MIECHV-Home Visiting Coalition, The California Evidence-Based Clearing House for Child Welfare, and SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices. We are a collaborating member of the National Alliance of Home Visiting Models.
ABC Parenting trains and supervises home visitors in local communities in implementing ABC with fidelity, equity, and through partnership with children and families most negatively affected by systemic oppression. ABC is strengths-based, focused, and brief (10, 1-hour, weekly sessions). Interested organizations (e.g., child welfare, early intervention, infant mental health) contract with the team for an in-depth orientation to ABC, a year of twice-weekly supervision, and consultation regarding evaluation and implementation. Due to a researched process of intensive supervision and measurable, identified ingredients of change, ABC is as effective with community home visitors as it is in randomized trials. The active ingredient for parent behavior change is “in the moment” comments, which highlight moments during session that parents are engaging in behaviors known to enhance child attachment and regulation. Data also support the effectiveness of ABC through telehealth after what was an incredibly challenging year for both home visitors and the families who could benefit from home visiting services the most. Communities deserve a science-driven, parent-focused, and cost-effective strategy for promoting resilience and long-term positive outcomes for children.
ABC is unique in the home-visiting field in that it is brief (10 weekly sessions), thus requiring a low cost per family, has a proven history of evidence, and is flexible in the home visiting space. There are no requirements for home visitor background or education, allowing communities to create the implementation model that will be most effective and sustainable. It is truly strengths-based, striving to help parents see all the things they are doing well, as opposed to pointing out what they need to do differently.
Helps parents re-interpret children’s behavioral signals and respond sensitively.
Enhances children’s behavioral and regulatory capabilities.
Fosters the development of secure attachments between children and their parents.
The Principal Investigator
Mary Dozier, Ph.D., is the Amy E. du Pont Chair of Child Development at the University of Delaware. She is the Principal Investigator of the school’s Infant Caregiver Project. Her interests in understanding connections between experience, brain development, and behavior have led to the ABC Intervention techniques, a practical application of findings from years of research.
Our Dedicated Team of Staff, Researchers, & Scientists