Description and History of CICC
The Center for the Improvement of Child Caring (CICC) was established in 1974 and has grown to become
one of America's largest and most influential parenting and parenting education organizations. It is a private,
non-profit community service, training and research corporation, and a major supporter
and participant in a nationwide Effective Parenting Movement to improve the overall quality of child
rearing and child caring in the United States.
A history and description of the Center is available in the sections that follow. Several of these sections
are linked to newspaper articles and editorials about different phases of our history and about our pioneering
programs and projects. We hope that you enjoy and appreciate our history and ongoing activities, and that you
will decide to become a part of them.
Founding of CICC
The Center was conceived and founded by clinical child psychologist, Dr. Kerby T. Alvy, who has served on its
Board of Directors throughout its history. Dr. Alvy has also served as the Center's Executive Director since
its inception, volunteering in that capacity for the first five years of the Center's existence. Another
individual who was pivotal in the founding of CICC was Dr. Alvy's brother, businessman Daniel T. Alvy, who
served on CICC's initial Board of Directors and has recently rejoined the Board, and who has been CICC's most
generous and consistent financial supporter. Mr. Stanley A. Sandberg, a financial manager and certified public
accountant, served as CICC's financial director for more than 20 years, including several years when he
volunteered in that capacity.
Other persons who were pivotal in the establishment of the Center were journalist, Mr. Marshall Lumsden,
who served on the Board of Directors for twenty years, and psychologist, Dr. Howard A. Rubin, who served
on the initial Board and who played several key programmatic roles in CICC's early years. Psychologists
Drs. Karl Pottharst, Seymour Zelen and Richard Royal Kopp, also were early supporters, with Dr. Kopp
playing important programmatic roles in several of CICC's initial projects.
CICC's Beliefs and Values
The Center believes that all children have the right to the opportunity to achieve their full potential
and the right to be free of abuse, neglect and exploitation.
The Center further believes that all parents have a right to and are deserving of the best possible
education, training and support so they can maximize their efforts in effectively and humanely raising
healthy, responsible and productive young people. There are many Benefits of Effective Parenting for
families and communities:
When parents are effective, children are healthier, they achieve and behave better at school, and they
contribute positively to the quality of community life. When parents are effective, a wide range of
costly and tragic problems are prevented or diminished, including child abuse and neglect, learning
and mental health problems, school failure, delinquency, drug abuse, gangs and crime.
The Center also believes that those professionals and individuals who are in positions to educate
parents about effective parenting, need and deserve the best possible education, training and support
to enable them to carry out their critical roles. The Center also values the continuing education of
the full spectrum of health, education and social service professionals who provide other important
services to parents, children and families.
It is out of these inter-related beliefs and values about the rights of children and parents, about
the importance of education for parents, and about the importance of continuing education for those
who serve parents, children and families, that the Center designs, delivers and disseminates its
numerous projects, services and publications.
Parenting Education Emphasis
The Center creates, evaluates, delivers and disseminates a variety of parenting skill-building programs
that are taught in communities in the form of parenting classes, seminars and workshops. The
Center-developed programs include its Confident Parenting Program,
which is for parents of all cultural
backgrounds (see Los Angeles Times article, "Success in Breaking Child
Abuse Chain Reported"), and two
versions of that program that have been adapted for use with parents of African and Latino American
children, the Effective Black Parenting and the
Los Niños Bien Educados programs. (See Los Angeles
Times article, "The Education of Kerby Alvy" and Los Angeles Daily News
article, "Hispanic Parents Help Niños To Be Bien Educados.")
The Center delivers classes and seminars in these programs in Los Angeles and other cities throughout
the United States, and it does this in cooperation with schools, childcare centers, Head Start agencies,
hospitals, and civic, cultural religious and other local institutions.
The Center also delivers and promotes the use of a wide range of additional modern parenting programs,
and it engages in evaluation studies on the effectiveness of these programs. In addition, the Center
conducts research studies on the parenting practices and attitudes of various parent populations, out
of which it designs new programs.
The Center also recognizes that parents can learn to be more effective through other means than attending
classes and seminars outside of their homes. So the Center creates and distributes the largest array of
parenting and child development publications, videos and pamphlets, and is in the process of developing
additional ways to educate parents through the use of the Internet. Its education materials for parents
and professionals are available through its Parent Training and Family Life
Catalog and through the
Publications section of this web site. (Parenting Books, Videos and Instructor Kits.)
Continuing Education Emphasis
The Center's main vehicle for preparing individuals and organizations to deliver high-quality parenting
education programs to the parents in their local communities is through its nationwide
Parenting Instructor Training Workshops. These professionally led
workshops provide both the intensive training and the materials
that are needed in order to deliver high quality programs. As of 2001, the Center has trained more than
5,000 instructors from communities and organizations throughout the United States and in some countries
abroad. Over 2.3 million parents and other caring persons have been trained and educated about effective
parenting through these CICC-trained parenting instructors.
These Parenting Instructor Training Workshops are led by highly trained and highly competent
Trainers-of-Instructors. Each year, the Center trains more of these extraordinary individuals through its
rigorous Trainer-of-Instructors Program.
In addition to the instructor training workshops and the Trainer-of-Instructors program, the Center provides
a wider spectrum of Training for Professionals. It conducts local, regional and national training
conferences to educate individuals, organizations and community decision-makers about the latest parenting
programs, materials and research. These conferences are often organized around important contemporary
themes, such as Violence in America: The Solution Starts at Home, Parents and Schools: Partners in
Building America's Future, and Careers and Kids: Balancing Work and Family Responsibilities. The Center
also creates new courses for different professional groups such as its
Development Assessment Course, Birth to Five Years,
to prepare psychologists to conduct state-of-the-art assessments of infants, toddlers
and preschoolers, and its training conferences for childcare professionals
(Getting Parents on Your Side, and
Children With Special Needs.)
Throughout its history, the Center has operated a variety of public education, parenting service and
training, and research and demonstration projects. Its first such project was a Child Abuse Information
Center project. This mid-1970's project for the entire County of Los Angeles helped raise consciousness
about the reality and tragedy of child abuse and neglect, and educated the public about how to identify,
report, treat and prevent child abuse and neglect. Drs. Alvy and Rubin were the leaders of that project.
(See Los Angeles Times article, "Facing Horror of Child Abuse With Action.")
Also during the 1970's, CICC
operated a countywide Parenting Information Service to inform and refer parents and service providers to
the best available parenting classes and services, and a Teenage Parenting Project to help these "children
raising children" to be as effective as possible. Drs. Alvy and Gail Schaper-Gordon played leadership roles.
(See Los Angeles Herald Examiner article, "A Guide For Bringing Up Perfect Parents in L.A.").
During the 1970's and early 1980's, CICC also conducted federal government-supported projects to research
the effectiveness of parenting skill-building programs, to develop and test a national model for preparing
mental health, social service and educational professionals as parenting instructors, and to create and test
culturally adapted parenting skill-building programs for African- and Latino-American parents. A wide
range of highly talented professionals played important roles in carrying out these pioneering projects,
including Drs. Hector Myers, Howard Rubin, Larry Rosen, Charles Thomas, Deborah Sears Harrison, Efrain
Fuentes, Thomas Newcomb, Marilyn Steele, Bryan Nichols, Barbara Solomon, Lupita Montoya Tannatt, Marlene
Zepeda and Ms. Marilyn Marigna.
Most of CICC's Special Projects in the late 1980's and early 1990's involved the application of the knowledge
about parent training and training parenting instructors that it had developed through the just described
research projects. It was during this time that CICC moved from delivering parenting services and training
parenting instructors in Los Angeles and other areas in California to delivering these services and training
instructors on a national level. (See Los Angeles Times article, "Kerby Alvy's Prescription for Child Rearing.")
Toward the end of the twentieth century, the Center began creating different types of Special Projects that
were more comprehensive in nature and which were based on its quarter century of prior projects and knowledge.
These newer projects include concerted efforts to involve entire communities and human service systems in
helping educate and train parents and/or in improving the overall quality of services provided to children
and their families in specific communities and regions. The first such project was in Long Beach, California
(see Los Angeles Times article, "This Village IS Helping to Raise Its Children.")
Effective Parenting Campaigns
In 1998, the Center initiated the idea of comprehensive Effective Parenting Campaigns. These campaigns
raise public consciousness about the importance of effective parenting and parenting education, they build the
capacities of local institutions to deliver the full spectrum of parenting education services, and they strive
to make it possible for all parents to have the opportunity to be trained and educated.
Like all of the Center's pioneering projects, this one is being first developed and implemented in Los Angeles.
And, like all other novel projects, its development is greatly dependent upon the Center's ability to raise funds
to carry it out. Several local funding sources have already contributed, (see Los Angeles Times article,
"Southland Campaign Seeks to Prove Better Parents Make Better Employees") and several components of the Los Angeles
Effective Parenting Campaign are now in operation. Other communities, such as Palm Beach County in Florida, have
approached the Center to help them develop similar comprehensive efforts and the Center has responded with careful
guidance and master plans. Drs. Alvy, Scott Plunkett and Larry Rosen are playing important roles in these campaigns,
including conducting community studies that provide data upon which campaigns can be customized for specific
Does My Child Have Special Needs?
In 2001, the Center initiated the idea for a comprehensive project that would help entire communities to
identify children who have special developmental, emotional, behavioral, social and physical needs as
early as possible in their lives, and to get these children and their families connected to the local
services that can best help and educate them.
This project is called, Does My Child Have Special Needs? It includes the
creation of a new Discovery Tool
to help parents and others identify young children with special needs, Cross-Agency Intake Tools to help agencies
to be more efficient and friendly in relating to these families, Family Service Advisors to help families navigate
human service systems, and Assessment Tools and Courses for psychologists who conduct the developmental assessments
that determine a child's eligibility for government services.
This project also involves pilot projects on delivering services for these children and their parents through
childcare centers, and the training of childcare personnel in how to identify and help children with special needs.
Dr. Alvy and Dr. Robert J. Rome play guiding roles in this major effort.
Child Care System and Parenting Education Projects
Also at the beginning of the new millennium, CICC has initiated regional projects that pioneer in bringing
parenting education into the childcare system, an idea for which CICC has been advocating for years
(see Los Angeles Daily News editorial by Dr. Alvy, "White House Raising Focus on Proper Child Care.").
These projects are located in the San Fernando and Antelope Valleys of Los Angeles County and they involve
the delivery of parenting skill-building classes and seminars with parents whose young children are in
childcare centers and family childcare homes. The projects also involve educating these parents through
self-instructional booklets, videos and CD's that they can play as they commute to and from work,
childcare facilities and home.
These Child Care System and Parenting Education Projects also provide training for childcare professionals
to expand their regular roles by becoming Effective Parenting Advocates and Resource Persons for the parents
who entrust their children in their care. Dr. Alvy and Mr. Nelson Pichardo are the CICC leaders of these
From its inception, CICC has been a forceful and often highly successful advocate for the humane treatment
of children, for an increase in the status of parents, and for making parenting education opportunities
more widely available.
In 1975 it organized many sectors of the local community to urge the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors
to recognize and act upon the problems of child abuse and neglect. This advocacy effort resulted in the Board
using its federal Revenue Sharing funds to support local child abuse prevention efforts, including the funding
of CICC's Child Abuse Information Center. CICC then advocated that this county, the largest in the United States,
needed a more focused overall approach to managing child abuse, and these efforts contributed to the Board
creating a 24-hour child abuse reporting hotline and an Interagency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect to
coordinate local services.
The decade of the 70's also saw the Center becoming very active in urging the nation's second largest school
district, Los Angeles Unified, to stop using and modeling violent tactics in gaining the cooperation of students.
These efforts resulted in the Board of Education abolishing the use of corporal punishment throughout the district.
(See Los Angeles Times editorial by Dr. Alvy, "Violence Sets an Example.")
During the 1980's when the Reagan Administration was mounting a nationwide "War On Drugs," the Center worked to
raise public awareness about the importance of parents in preventing youth drug use. CICC helped the responsible
federal government agency, the Office of Substance Abuse Prevention, create a nationwide effort to involve all
states in helping parents help their children avoid drug use. Dr. Alvy was the lead parenting expert and shaper
of the government's Parenting Is Prevention Project that resulted in every state adopting a parenting education
component as part of its Comprehensive Substance Abuse Prevention Plans and most states funding parenting
programs as part of their plans.
CICC knew from its first efforts to train parenting instructors that there were major problems in this area
because these individuals were isolated, un-credentialed, under-appreciated and under paid. Without them,
there would be no parenting classes, and so it was highly indicated to do something to improve their
situation and status. CICC first tried to mobilize a variety of other national and local parenting
organizations in supporting a membership and advocacy association. There was interest but no funding
for such an effort. CICC's Board decided to use some of its hard-earned funds to bring a National
Parenting Instructors Association into existence. CICC initiated the Association during the 1990's
with the leadership of Dr. Alvy and Dr. Jeffrey Morrow, and had over 1,000 members at its peak. Three
highly successful national conferences were conducted and local chapters and efforts were stimulated.
But a lack of complementary funding resulted in CICC having to end this endeavor toward the end of the century.
At that time, it transferred its advocacy effort to working with other national institutions in trying to
create a new national organization that would raise awareness about the needs of today's parents and become
a voice in Washington for parents. Dr. Alvy worked as part of a team of parent advocates to design what was
to be called The National Association for Parents. Here too, however, a lack of funding stopped the
development of this potentially powerful and badly needed association.
Also during the late 1990's, CICC was relating to the Domestic Policy Council in the Clinton White House
about creating an entity that would bring a national government focus and commitment to promoting effective
parenting. (See Washington Post article by William Raspberry, "Music to My Ears.") Dr. Alvy wrote a
prototype for a Presidential Commission on Effective Parenting. There was growing interest in the White
House and in several federal government agencies for what CICC was advocating but the administration's
problems at the end of their second term diverted attention.
At about the same time, child advocate, director and actor Rob Reiner was working at the federal level
to promote an emphasis on early childhood development that would be funded by a tax on tobacco products.
When this effort failed on the federal level, Mr. Reiner and organizations like CICC supported a
citizen-driven proposition in the State of California to have a 50 cent tax on tobacco products that
would be used to fund early childhood health, education and welfare projects throughout the nation's
largest state. CICC's emphasis was in reinforcing the need to include parenting education as a central
component of early childhood projects. All of these efforts were highly successful as the voters passed
Proposition 10 in 1998 and also defeated efforts to repeal the Proposition in 1999.
With the advent of this amazing funding source for early childhood programs statewide (up to $700 million a year),
CICC has focused its advocacy efforts in orienting the county and state Proposition 10 Commissions who determine
how the funds are to be distributed to use the best-researched, most effective and culturally-appropriate
parenting programs in its projects, and to make creative uses of the Internet to educate, train, and support
parents and service providers. (See Los Angeles Daily News editorial by Dr. Alvy, "Parenting Education Can
Benefit Our Children.") The main emphasis of CICC's advocacy efforts have been with the Los Angeles County
Proposition 10 Commission, who receives the lion's share of the funding (up to $165 million a year) because
it has the largest number of young children in the state. These efforts have been successful in keeping
parenting education in the forefront of the Commission's thinking and in the funding of millions of dollars
of projects that include parenting education components.
Funding for the Center
A wide range of funding sources is used to keep the Center operating and expanding. The most important funds
that CICC receives are from the thousands of individuals who have made tax-deductible contributions (Support CICC).
These important funds are used by CICC to provide free parenting services for needy families, to support the
organization's advocacy efforts, and to support the Center during emergencies.
The largest sources of support for specific service, research and training projects have come from federal, state
and local government grants and contracts. At the federal government level, research and demonstration grants
from such agencies as the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention enabled the Center to develop many of its parenting
education and continuing education programs. Grants and contracts from numerous state and county government
agencies and school districts have facilitated the delivery of many of the Center's services. Currently, a
major provider of funds for the Center's local programs is the Los Angeles County Proposition 10 Commission.
The Center's work has also been supported through grants and gifts from more than eighty corporations and
foundations, which are herein listed as CICC FOUNDATION AND CORPORATE SUPPORTERS.
Finally, the Center earns an important part of its funding through the fees that individuals and agencies
pay to be trained to deliver parenting programs through the Center's Parenting Instructor Training Workshops.
Thousands of organizations, both public and private, have paid the enrollment fees so that their staffs
could receive the training and materials to enable them to deliver high-quality parenting education in
their communities. Click on Affiliations of Persons Trained as Parenting Instructors for a state-by-state
listing of the institutions and organizations that have paid for their staffs to be trained through the
Center's workshops since the Center opened in 1974 through December 2000. You may find an organization
in your community that is delivering parent education services because they have had their staff trained by CICC!