NCAST Programs - Promoting Nurturing Environments for Young Children

MIECHV Grantees and New Nurse Family Partnership Sites

"Creating an impact on the development of the parent and child in risk dyads remains one of the most critical yet difficult challenges for our field."

- Dr. Kathryn Barnard, Professor Emeritus
  University of Washington School of Nursing
  Founder and Developer of NCAST Programs and 
  The Barnard Center for Infant Mental Health and Development

Whether you are a new Nurse Family Partnership® site or a program that has chosen to use the NCAST scales as one of their benchmarks for the new MIECHV funded programs, we are here to ensure you are able to meet your goals.

Some of the new NFP sites are using the NCAST Parent Child Interaction (PCI) Feeding scale as a way to examine the parent-child relationship in a new and detailed way. During the learning process, you will learn to observe an interaction, understand it, and describe what is happening. You will be able to identify areas of strength and areas for growth in the parent child interaction.  Be sure to check with your site advisor or nurse consultant as to whether your particular site will be learning the Feeding scale.  As you learn and begin to use the scales in your practice, you hone your observation skills. We hear over and over from those educated in the NCAST PCI scales that “I will never look at parent-child interaction in the same way again” and “It’s changed my practice forever.”

The Promoting Maternal Mental Health During Pregnancy curriculum is on the list of materials from the National NFP office to order from Parent-Child Relationships Programs (formerly NCAST Programs). Workshops are held in Seattle twice a year in addition to the opportunity to bring this training directly to your community.  Since busy practitioners and home visitors spend most of their time providing services to families, attending the workshop to become familiar with the curriculum and the interventions gives your nurses a huge jump start toward effectively using Promoting Maternal Mental Health During Pregnancy with the pregnant women enrolled in your program. 

Keys to Caregiving and the Sleep Activity Program are also both on the list for NFP sites.

How do you learn the NCAST PCI Feeding and/or Teaching scales?

• First step is to purchase the materials for the Keys to Caregiving package. This will establish the groundwork for being good observers of parent-child interactions. “Keys” does not require a trained instructor. The Keys package comes with a Facilitator’s Guide to help with lesson plans. A professional staff person, knowledgeable and passionate about the abilities of babies, can study the materials and facilitate group learning. Keys may also be learned by watching the videos, using the study guide, and practicing the content with families. Most NCAST PCI Instructors are able to provide this training if you wish.

• Contact our office for a list of instructors closest to you. If you are an NFP site, some of the nurse consultants are certified NCAST PCI Instructors and can assist you with setting up your NCAST education plan. NCAST PCI Instructors are trained in Seattle and return to their communities to train/educate other nurses, social workers, home visitors, psychologists, etc. in the use of the Feeding and Teaching assessment scales. The fees for an instructor’s time and skill are set by the individual instructors and/or their agency. Parent-Child Relationship Programs sells the materials needed to learn and administer the scales. The PCI Set (both Feeding & Teaching scales) is $230 or the Feeding Set only is $83 for each nurse. Each nurse must have a manual and pad of score sheets to learn and administer the Feeding scale.

• Sites that have their own NCAST PCI instructor in their agency,  find their nurses and other providers use the assessments more often and experience a higher level of satisfaction. Please contact Denise Findlay at the Parent-Child Relationship Programs office for information on Instructor workshops and planning this into your budget. The Parent-Child Relationship Programs office can also provide you contacts from other programs that have found it worthwhile to have an instructor on site.

• If you are a MIECHV Funded program and are thinking about or have chosen to use the NCAST Feeding and/or Teaching scales as one of your benchmarks, please contact Denise about planning and implementation.  

NCAST Programs