Washington State Triple P Initiative

Principal Investigator: 
Suzanne Kerns, Ph.D.
Funding Source: 
Washington State DSHS Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery (DBHR)
Project Period: 
PBHJP Project Faculty and Staff: 
Project Contact: 
Erin McCormick, MSW, MPH, Project Coordinator, Seattle Children’s Research Institute
Scott Waller, MEd, Program Coordinator, WA State DSHS, Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery State Project Lead
Karen Palmer, Adams County Health Department, Local Coordinator for Othello
Andi Ervin, Okanogan County Community Coalition, Project Director for Omak
Lynell Morrison-Nelson, Okanogan County Community Coalition, Local Coordinator for Omak
Kati Oien Lindstrom, Pacific County Public Health and Human Services, Project Director for Ocean Beach School District
Randy Ahn, PhD, MLIS, Triple P America, Implementation Consultant
Marlena Norwood, University of Washington, Undergraduate Research Assistant
Project Summary: 

In 2012, the Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery (DBHR) utilized Mental Health Block Grant funds to partner with the University of Washington Division of Public Behavioral Health and Justice Policy (UW PBHJP) and Seattle Children’s Research Institute (SCRI) to implement the Positive Parenting Program (Triple P) in three low-resource, rural Prevention Redesign Initiative (PRI)- funded communities in Washington State: Othello, Omak, and Ocean Beach School District. The Washington State Triple P Initiative is intended to support the implementation of a population-level approach to delivering evidence-based parenting supports for parents of children 0-12 years old with mild to moderate behavior problems.  The project’s implementation framework has been driven by Fixen’s et al (2005) model.

The three communities have targeted providers from diverse service settings to create a universal reach through primary care clinics, day cares and school systems as well as providers working with targeted populations (e.g. public health nurses and behavioral health specialists). These community professionals and primary care providers received training in Level 3 Primary Care (inclusive of Level 2- Brief Primary Care), Level 4 Standard, Level 4 Group and Level 2 Selected Seminars.  The project has sponsored trainings each year to fill provider gaps and address community need as identified by community coordinators, coalitions and members. Each community continues to develop Triple P capacity and infrastructure to support Triple P services to deliver “light-touch” to more intensive parenting interventions to families in the identified communities.  Medical provider involvement remains a major focus of the initiative. When accredited, billable medical providers receive Triple P billing instructions for their Medicaid-eligible patients from Washington’s Healthcare Authority.  Each community continues to execute a Level 1 Universal Triple P campaign in their community, involving broad communication strategies that promote positive parenting information and messages. Local PRI coalitions played a significant role in applying for the project and as such continue to play a role in various implementation efforts.

The UW PBHJP and SCRI continue to provide technical assistance around Triple P training and implementation to local communities.  The project staff is responsible for conducting a process evaluation to assess factors associated with successful implementation and uptake of the Triple P Program.

Public Health Relevance: 

Child maltreatment is a significant public health problem in the United States due to the high costs associated with family involvement in costly state systems as well as the resulting long-term psychological and health sequelae.  Creating strong families is an important component of building resilient and healthy communities. This initiative engages providers across multiple service settings, equipping them with the skills and tools to deliver targeted evidence-based parenting services for families as needed and to properly identify and refer distressed families to more intensive services.  Triple P has over 20 years of research proving its effectiveness in strengthening parenting and reducing conduct problems in children. 

Behavioral Health and Child Welfare