The Purdy Project is an intervention for incarcerated mothers and their infants that guides mothers in early speech and language development. This project also known as "Parenting in Prison" started as the brain child of Kate Krings, M.S., CCC-SLP and was implemented through a partnership with the Residential Parenting Program at the Washington Correctional Center for Women (WCCW) in Purdy, WA.
The WCCW is the only prison nursery nationwide partnering with Early Head Start to provide education in parenting and child development to incarcerated mothers residing with their infants. Despite encouraging evidence that nursery programs promote positive maternal and child outcomes, there is little knowledge about best practice in prison nurseries and there are no evidence-based parenting programs for this vulnerable population.
Kate and SPHSC Assistant Professor, Dr. Amy Pace, are building a team to investigate the impact of this specific intervention. Through their vision and leadership, the UW Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences has forged a unique relationship with the prison nursery to evaluate the effectiveness of an intervention that helps mothers understand their children’s communication needs, develop strong mother-child relationships, and learn positive communication strategies to stimulate their child’s learning and development. An essential element of this model includes a service learning component involving graduate clinicians that balances student learning with community outreach and engagement.
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