“Homer et al’s findings show that [Mobility Mentoring®] is a promising program to improve early child development by improving the economic well-being of families.”
-Suzy Tomopoulos, MD, Carol Duh-Leong, MD, MPP, and Arthur H. Fierman, MD in Pediatrics

Video Abstract

A study published yesterday in the journal Pediatrics shows that EMPath’s economic coaching approach, Mobility Mentoring®, significantly improves child development outcomes.

Researchers Charles J. Homer, MD, MPH, Ashley Winning, ScD, MPH, and Kevin Cummings, PhD looked at children enrolled in Washington State’s public, income-qualified prekindergarten program and their families. Children whose parents received Mobility Mentoring were shown to have significant improvements in literacy and math scores compared to children whose parents did not, with promising growth made across the other four domains measured – social-emotional, physical, cognitive, and language skills.

Washington State’s income-qualified prekindergarten program, the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP), seeks to prepare three- and four-year-old children from low-income families for success. ECEAP pairs strong early childhood development direct services with family support activities designed to help families achieve self-reliance and strong parenting practices that promote children’s early development and school readiness. In 2015, ECEAP redesigned its family support program, and with support from EMPath’s learning network, from 2015 to 2017 Washington State’s Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) began small-scale implementation of Mobility Mentoring. In 2017–2018, DCYF implemented expanded their Mobility Mentoring work.

The authors conclude that building parental executive function through a coaching model like Mobility Mentoring may improve child outcomes as well as enhance family progress toward economic self-sufficiency and potentially be more engaging than traditional family support programs.

In commentary published in the same issue of the journal, Drs. Suzy Tomopoulos, Carol Duh-Leong, and Arthur H. Fierman write about the far-reaching potential impact of Mobility Mentoring. “Homer et al evaluate a novel economic coaching program with broad implications for researchers and stakeholders who aim to reduce family-level poverty to improve early child development outcomes,” they write. “Homer et al’s findings show that MM is a promising program to improve early child development by improving the economic well-being of families.”

The study, entitled “A Coaching Model to Promote Economic Mobility and Child Developmental Outcomes,” will also be published in the January 2022 print issue of Pediatrics.

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