From its headquarters in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Real Alternatives reaches out to assist women experiencing crisis pregnancies throughout the Midwest. In an innovative funding project, the organization partners with the governments of three states in providing social services such as adoption education, counseling, and parent training. Over the past 20 years, hundreds of thousands of women have benefited from Real Alternatives’ work.
Parenting education programs have become increasingly needed across the United States since many of today’s single mothers lack a strong network of family support. Parenting education can include information about the normal course of child development, the care of infants and toddlers, common childhood illnesses, managing behavior issues in positive ways, and more.
Classes for parents can be individually based or held in groups. Many of those currently operating in the U.S. meet once a week for as long as several months and offer follow-up support as necessary.
Experts point out that parents who take such classes are typically more self-sufficient and offer their children a more stable, healthier environment. And children whose parents have graduated from parenting courses tend to be better adjusted and experience closer bonds with their parents.
Launched in 1996 through a state-sponsored initiative to lower abortion rates, Real Alternatives originally served women through 72 centers across Pennsylvania.