Zoom event in Finland

The chair of the ICDP Finland Association describes the recent meeting.

“Our association hosted a zoom event for ICDP facilitators in Finland, on Tuesday, the 24th of November. There are one hundred and forty-four facilitators in Finland, and twenty-nine facilitators from many corners of the country participated eagerly (plus a few cats and a dog) at the zoom event, sharing their ICDP experiences and inspiring each other.

We spoke of ways to practice sensitivity, playfulness and empathy with children, caregivers, differently abled people, colleagues and others, both when physically present and in remote setting.

Even though we would rather have met each other in real life, the ICDP magic was still tangible in this virtual meeting space”. – Pamela Antila.


Estonia acquires ICDP facilitators

Ten professionals are ready to receive their ICDP certificates having completed training at facilitator level.

Their training was carried out in the frame of an ongoing cooperation between the municipalities in Tapa and the Estonian Association of Central Norway. Six Estonians, two Russians and two Norwegians were trained by Grete Hyldmo and Hege Beate Sivertsen, two ICDP trainers from Trondheim, Norway. Grete Hyldmo explains: 

“I am very proud and happy to inform that the six professionals working in the schools in Tapa, Estonia have qualified for certification as ICDP facilitators. They participated actively in two training workshops held in Norway, in October 2019 and in January 2020. After the workshops they carried out their practical tasks conscientiously. They attended six full days of training and spent one day visiting two kindergartens and a primary school. They also had three days off for sightseeing Trondheim and its surroundings.

In January one of the themes was about cultural sensitization, violence and sexual abuse with a focus on the difficulties in their own society. According to ICDP obligations to the UN politics on the matters of sexual abuse and violence, they will arrange a day about these topics in Tapa, by a well-qualified, Estonian lecturer who knows the national legislations on these matters.

At the January workshop each participant presented a video of their own practice with children and analyzed it using the 8 guidelines of the ICDP programme. This was followed by their practical work in rolling out the programme to parent groups, which was successfully completed just before lock down in March. We visited them while they were still applying ICDP with groups of parents; we gathered the whole group in Tapa, for a day of support and reflections in the middle of February. In March, because of the corona virus pandemic, the second support session was held digitally and it was done together with our interpreter by talking to each person individually. To complete their training all participants wrote solid reports that contained reflections on their own practical work with parents, including descriptions of the use of exercises and their own application of the 7 principles of sensitization.

During the last week of August 2020, Tapa municipalities arranged an ICDP day for all the teachers. Many of the teachers had earlier participated as parents themselves in the ICDP parent groups that were conducted by trainee facilitators during the winter months and had thus been introduced to the ICDP programme. As a result of this good strategy quite a few teachers from different schools in Tapa now understand the ICDP programme from personal experience of attending parent groups. 

The ICDP facilitators look forward to receiving their certification at a graduation ceremony in Tapa. The director of Education in Tapa, Anne Roos, participated in the training and will also become an ICDP certified facilitator.  

The Tapa city council adopted the project and was kept informed all the way. The interpreter, Piret Purdelo Tomingas has not only helped with translations but has also had a central role in the project preparations and execution and the whole team has already started working on a new application for another training programme. I think they really have a unique possibility to make a difference in Tapa.”


ICDP with people with intellectual disabilities

ICDP programme in the services for people with intellectual disabilities in Finland.

ICDP Finland informs about an interesting adaptation of ICDP in which the programme was used to train adult caregivers of adults with intellectual disabilities:

Good interaction between professionals and people with intellectual disabilities is essential for achieving a person-centred service and in the long run it is fundamental in striving to reach an equal status for people with intellectual disabilities in society as a whole.

One of the first initiatives in Finland, where the ICDP programme was applied by professionals working with people with intellectual disabilities (ID), took place in the Swedish-speaking joint municipality Kårkulla in 2015. The programme was conducted in the Swedish language.

Kårkulla Joint Municipality is a service producer that provides counselling and service to Swedish-speaking persons with intellectual or other functional disabilities. The main objective is to offer continuous individual and family-centred rehabilitation and service in aid of their development and social involvement. The service is directed to children, families, young people, adults and seniors and is located in around 100 operating points in Swedish-speaking Finland. Currently Kårkulla has 4 facilitators trained in the ICDP programme.

The implementation was realized by having regional facilitators, who carry out ICDP groups for different professionals involved in the daily work: caregivers, instructors, therapists and unit managers. The programme was applied in orde to support and strengthen the interaction between professionals and persons with ID receiving services from the Swedish speaking joint municipality in Finland.

The start was challenging in different ways, because the programme had not yet been used widely among professional caregivers working with adults with ID. The tools and approach had to be adapted to fit in with the professional roles of caregivers working with adults, often in cases where the family had strong supportive ties to the person with ID. It was important for the ICDP facilitators to network and together create a basis for the intervention that would strengthen professional caregivers’ capacity to interact with adults with ID.

The goal was to enhance adults’ opportunities to be heard and seen as advocates of their own lives despite being in lifelong care.  This was achieved through supportive interaction. People with ID are sometimes only given the role of passive receiver, and therefore it is important to provide them with an opportunity to explore their adulthood and to encourage their independence. 

It was important for the facilitators to understand the different perspectives of the professional caregivers. The perspective is sometimes experienced as a balance between supporting independence and allowing for autonomy of the individual in their care. And at the same time trying to understand the caregiving dimension in the parent-relationship that is often strongly present in the lives of adults with ID. The professionals expressed the need to balance different interests. This discussion was given special attention in the groups. Discussion and exercises about redefinition were practiced by the groups. The image of the competent independent individual was strengthened and it was emphasized that autonomy can be expressed in different ways.

Professionals who attended ICDP groups expressed that the exercises and discussion enabled them to see interaction as fundamental to their work. Some also felt encouraged that they had the opportunity to discuss about different emotions and the importance of empathy during scheduled work.

Unfortunately, the continuing work with ICDP is weakened by the fact that no new facilitators are being trained, which means that in some regions of the joint municipality there are no ICDP groups available for professionals working with persons with ID. But the facilitators are confident that it will be possible to develop the work in the future. The experience of training  professional groups in ICDP will  help to incorporate ICDP in the services for persons with intellectual disabilities in the future.


ICDP and Save the Children Nepal

The ICDP method is conceptualized as an intervention to be added to the Save the Children’s current Child Sensitive Social Protection (CSSP) programme, in an effort to ensure better psychosocial development outcomes for children. It is expected for ICDP to become an integral part of the CSSP and to complement the existing economic interventions in the deprived communities in which Save the Children Nepal is currently working.

The objective of the new project is to train a group of 16 people in the ICDP programme and to continue with the training until they become ICDP approved facilitators. The group attended their first ICDP workshop in April and showed a lot of interest in the methodology. They are currently trying out the ICDP guidelines for good interaction in relation to their children, as a first step in training. The next step will be to enable them to deliver ICDP sessions to caregivers in three different communities at some distance from Kathmandu – that experience will also serve as a pilot project. The 16 participants are comprised of Save the Children staff members, as well as members of their implementing partner organizations.

“My visit to Kathmandu in April 2017 was an opportunity not only to start the training of a new group linked to Save the Children, but also to meet the previously trained ICDP team at the Early Childhood Education Centre (ECEC) and their leader Reiny de Wit, a person of great vision and talent. ICDP has been developing through ECEC for over two years in Kathmandu. ECEC has many years of experience in teacher training and their work is based on a philosophy close to ICDP’s, ICDP they encourage and focus teachers to adapt and respond to the perceived needs of children. I spent several hours with the 14 trainee trainers at the ECEC who shared touching stories illustrating how ICDP had impacted positively the families they are working with. It was evident that they found ICDP to be a useful tool, as well as one they enjoyed using. ICDP trainers from the ECEC will now take over and continue the training of the Save the Children group. So this new training project represents a cooperation between ICDP, ECEC and Save the Children Nepal.” – Nicoletta Armstrong, ICDP.


Report from ICDP work in adult justice centres

The Changing Children’s Worlds Foundation “The Best Start for Families-A Health Equity Approach” Program Report on Justice-Involved Parents 2019

By Kimberly A. Svevo-Cianci, Ph.D., Kristin Gilbertson, M.S.W, Amy Eccher, M.S. Statistics


In 2019, the Changing Children’s Worlds Foundation has been fortunate to have found new partners in Kane County Sheriff Ronald Hain and in DOC Transition Center Director Margarita Mendoza.

Over 300 detainees and inmates have benefited through participation in “The Best Start-A Health Equity Approach,” based on the International Child/Parenting Development Program between 2015-2019.

Important to note: nearly two-thirds received certificates, meaning attending 70% or 7 of the 10 sessions. When we were introduced to our first group, in 2015, the KC Adult Justice Center (AJC) staff told

 us, “Don’t expect any appreciation or gratitude for your efforts in delivering the program.” We have enjoyed a completely opposite response. We have delivered 20 Parenting Learning Groups/Family Life Skills, as well as 5 one-time Holiday Cafe Discussion Groups. And the feedback we have most often heard is “Thank you for….”

Most often, it is appreciation that CCWF facilitators have entered into the world of these parents and grandparents, accepting them despite the mistakes they have made, and seeing the best in them for signing up for “The Best Start” program. That takes courage in a place where everyone needs to adopt a hard, brave or indifferent persona in order to get through each day. Our participants come to rely on us to treat them with respect, to encourage them to work to strengthen or rebuild family relationships, and to recognize their love for their family at a time when they feel they have failed them irreparably. We help them to have hope, and to build on that hope – that with commitment and improved skills, they can become the parents and family members they have wanted to be, but maybe never believed they could.

This 2019 report reflects our most recent 8 projects at the Kane County AJC, and presents information from several perspectives – from the AJC/DOC leadership, the CCWF Lead Facilitator and from the detainees and inmates themselves.

The evaluation results reveal a valuable insight. The level of self-reported capacity and parental efficacy of Justice-Involved caregivers was often so much lower than Non-Justice involved caregivers, that even when Justice-involved reported a higher rate of improvement, they still only measured up to the level at which non-Justice involved caregivers began. We know that many had violent, negative or a complete lack of positive parenting in their past. Still, that is how equity begins….. It brings people, parents to where they need to be in order for their children to grow up with fewer adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), and with greater resiliency and capacity to aspire to a different opportunity for life!

We believe in people and the effectiveness of two-generational support to disrupt the intergenerational cycle and transmission of disappointment, desperation and failure which brings so many into the system, and causes them to return again and again.

When we consider that everyone deserves a right to nurturing, caring relationships, safe home and communities, positive mental and physical health, academic success and ultimately economic opportunity and stability, we recognize that it all begins with the protective factor of loving parent models, and safe home, school and community environments. We can do this.

In partnership,

Kimberly Svevo-Cianci, Ph.D.

Executive Director, Changing Children’s Worlds Foundation & Founder, “ICDP-USA: The Best Start for Families-A Health Equity Approach,” 411 Stevens Street, Geneva, IL 60134 /

To obtain report write to


Field work experience

An ICDP day in action by the team of trainee facilitators from Save the Children India, applying for the first time ICDP, as part of their work in the poor villages in Rajasthan.

A group of ten facilitators are for the first time applying the principles and guidelines of the ICDP programme with groups of parents and their children, and yet they are confident, warm and inspiring. Families are  happy to be talking in a circle, in a relaxed manner, there is some laughter; sharing of personal ideas and examples from daily practice and in relation to their views and ways of bringing up children seem to be flowing effortlessly.

Role play proved to be a very useful tool, in addition to showing videos which seem to be the best vehicle for sparking off discussions about the different themes covered by the programme. Some of the participants attempt to do role play with great success and to everyone’s delight – ICDP topics are clarified through such participation with ease and enjoyment. Mothers are accompanied by their young children and some older ones, who participate vividly in the process, once they overcome their shyness.

It is a simple and joyful process, carried out in a friendly and warm manner and everyone seems to be happy to be part of. Photos are used for clarification and as an incentive to make the group reflect on the themes. Facilitators are particularly good at sharing own experiences, they are describing their own families and children, sharing their own stories and little anecdotes – as a result most of the participants follow suit. The personal touch is powerful with this group of facilitators. Facilitators’ bright, smiling and open disposition is making participants relax and able to open up. There is a gentle guiding touch.

All the usual ICDP questions (such as, what does it mean to love your child, how do you show this in practice, what kind of situations in the daily routines offer opportunities to talk and share with your children, how do you say ‘no’ and set limits, how do you follow their initiative and support their projects etc.) seem to attract interest and willingness to explore their meaning through reflection and observation of concrete situations that are role played by two facilitators. Facilitators enjoy the process of observing others in interaction with the child –  through this process the group started to give birth to something new and more positive that can help them in their daily dealings with their children. They recognized easily how not to do it and were quick to find the positive way that they know will please the child. Participant children understand this too.

Let us have more days like this seems to be the evaluation at the end of the day and all are keen to come back for more. What is the likely outcome of such sessions long term? A nice experience of sharing, making some new realizations, testing out and adopting some new ways of relating to children and consolidating what is already positive in their relationship with children; a process that can make children happy and eager to ask questions and learn, a process of achieving harmony in daily routines, a happier home and family…

I enjoyed accompanying the trainee facilitators to their sessions in Bhinda, a very promising and talented team of people. – Nicoletta Armstrong’s notes, a day in the field, April 2017.


Child sensitive project in Somaliland

The ICDP programme is going to be included in the Child Sensitive Social Protection Project (CSSP) developed by Save the Children in Somaliland.

Photo above: Somali families fleeing drought and malnutrition in rural areas converge on this IDP camp and clinic in Mogadishu, Somalia. (Photo: Sean Ryan/Save the Children.)


Mukesh Lath is an Advisor for Save the Children, working in the area of Social Protection & Child Rights Governance and he has been participating in ICDP training in India. Upon his recommendation a new ICDP initiative is about to begin in in Hargeisa, Somaliland.

ICDP will train 10-12 staff members of Save the Children (SC), HAVYOCO and Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs on the ICDP programme in order to take it forward in Somaliland.  The first ICDP training workshop is due to take place from 5 to 9 of July, 2017, to be conducted by ICDP trainer Atnaf Kebreab.

Project’s background information:

Of an estimated 767 million people living in extreme income-poverty, fully one-half (50.2%) are children.  Income-poverty at the household level underpins and reinforces childhood deprivations and poor outcomes across Save the Children’s Breakthroughs and the SDGs. Children born in the lowest household wealth quintile in developing countries are over twice as likely to die as their counterparts in the top quintile.  Their rates of malnutrition are about 2.5 times higher.

In Somaliland, about 60% of the population is considered to be below the poverty line. Poverty is mainly caused by lack of productive assets, recurrent shocks, high unemployment rates and continued displacement. Wacqooyi Galbeed, the region that houses Hargeisa district is gradually recovering from a prolonged drought whose impacts are projected to last through the end of 2016. Unemployment is soaring at 80% causing major social and economic dislocation of young people and leading to secondary displacement among IDPs with young people leaving the country to search for opportunities in Europe. On average, 60% of IDPs have a very low level of productive asset ownership (0-2). Low asset base indicates reduced income generation and coping capacity, thus making people highly vulnerable to shocks and stresses.

Low household incomes have a direct negative impact in the way households invest in their children. Low purchasing power among these poor households means they are either unable or face difficulties accessing basic services such as health, food, education and clothing among others. Children from these households are further exposed to a wide range of protection risks such as child labour and family separation as street children.

According to SCI assessments, monthly household incomes in Hargeisa IDPs averages USD 38. Further, the minimum cost of living (for food and non-food needs) in Hargeisa is USD 143. This means monthly household incomes can only purchase 26% of the monthly household needs. In addition, household debt averages USD 78.3, which is double the monthly income. A combination of low levels of incomes, high cost of living and high household debts means reduced purchasing power of the household thus reduced ability of the household to invest in their children.

There is a strong body of evidence that social protection transfers can positively impact the pathways and drivers for achieving breakthroughs for children, particularly those for the survival and healthy growth of all children and for child learning through good quality basic education. Evidence from many contexts consistently shows that social protection transfers to poor households can improve access to and use of education and health services, food intake, dietary diversity, family food security and asset accumulation.  There is also widespread evidence that social protection transfers can reduce child labour  as well as, from more limited examples, supporting safer behaviors among adolescents

However, the evidence also shows that providing cash (as part of social protection transfers) alone brings about more limited results on higher level outcomes for children, such as improved learning, health and nutritional status and protection.  Such higher-level impacts for children are often additionally dependent on other factors. These further factors may include: knowledge and practices of appropriate child care and parenting among parents, care-givers and communities; the availability and accessibility of local basic services; service quality and accountability to users; and household investments made in children. Complementary actions to address these factors, based on context-specific analysis, can potentially be effective in strengthening the impacts of cash transfers for children in poverty, especially at the outcome level.

In order to ensure that the cash transfers being made to IDP households in the CSSP project in Hargeisa and the Unicef/MoLSA proposed Child Grant in Borama are child sensitive, complementary actions as part of the overall Child Sensitive Social Protection approach have been built into the project. The key complementary actions are i) enhancing child sensitivity of parents, caregivers, community members and ii) improving transparency and accountability in the delivery of basic services relevant to SP interventions for children.

These complementary actions need to be well planned, designed and implemented so as to demonstrate a really strong approach, for which there is a strong appetite and uptake by other actors/ donors/ Govt. in Somaliland.

The ICDP programme will be a key part of the ‘Child Sensitivity” package to be implemented in the Child Sensitive Social Protection Project (CSSP).  


Update from Moldovan trainer

Silvia Breabin has been working with the ICDP programme at the Early Intervention Centre in Kishinev, Moldova.

ICDP has been operating at the Centre in Kishinev since 2013 and Silvia has been part of a team of ICDP trainers working with children and parents attending the centre. The Centre found the ICDP approach helpful in relation to families with children with special needs and they offered ICDP training to other early intervention teams.

Silvia has extensive experience in working as ICDP trainer. In addition to her activities in Kishinev, she was also part of the ICDP team involved in spreading the programme in Ukraine.  One of several groups of facilitators that Silvia trained in Ukraine, continued to keep in touch with her on regular basis – this group is based in Vynnitsa. Silvia informs ICDP that the Vynnitsa facilitators still use the ICDP programme in the after school day centre for children and that they participated in a TV show that discussed the ICDP programme. In addition, one facilitator trained a group of students at the Vynnitsa pedagogic university and she also used ICDP as the topic of her master degree study. Some of the facilitators in Vynnitsa are very motivated to attend further training in order to become ICDP trainers.

Silvia has recently moved from Moldova to Romania, and is now living in an area situated between Sibiu, Sighisoara and Targu Mures. “I would like to thank you for this great programme and hope to spread it to many more people in the future. I have already applied for my work permit and as soon as I receive it, my plan is to start training new groups in ICDP here in Romania.” – writes Silvia.



The mission of the Child Development Training and Research Center (CDTRC) is to transform and equip the hearts and minds of people working for and with children and to ensure that the nurture, development and role of children become important concerns of the Ethiopian society.

The Child Development Training and Research Center (CDTRC) is a non-profit organization located in Sendafa/Beke town, Oromia regional State, Ethiopia. Sendafa/Beke town is located 39 kms to the north east of Addis Ababa.

CDTRC has recently organized ICDP training  for 27 people, including their own staff,  as well as staff from other organizations workimg in child protection. 
The first training took place from 7-10th of June and the second training was from 26-28th of June 2017. Even though many of the participants have been working in other programmes run by CDTRC, all felt that the ICDP programme was unique and relevant to the community they are working with. Most participants expressed that ICDP helped them to reflect on their relationship with their own children and many shared stories illustrating how ICDP had improved their communication with children. This group of trainee facilitators will be engaging in self training projects, in which they will be applying ICDP for the first time with groups of caregivers over the coming months. They will meet their ICDP trainer Atnaf Kebreab in November for the last ICDP workshop and certification.

The vision of the CDTRC is to see the creation of a new generation of Ethiopians who can help develop a healthier and more peaceful Ethiopia, where justice and equality of individuals and the different nations and nationalities of the country is guaranteed.
The CDTRC training centre is developing and delivering culturally contextualized training and intervention programmes to enhance culture and value change among the youth. They are fostering the culture of creativity and excellence in day-to-day life, and promoting education for developing high achievers. The training programmes also address specific sociocultural challenges of the society including environmental care, development of strong work culture, child protection, disability inclusion, and ethnic tolerance.
CDTRC runs a diploma programme on Holistic Child Development for grassroots practitioners. The curriculum combines child development concepts and principles with analyzing and addressing root causes of the society’s economic and sociocultural issues such as poverty, environmental protection, work ethics, and ethnic tolerance.
CDTRC has been engaged in training both adolescents and those who directly influence them in various areas. For instance, during last year more than 544 children attended summer camp programmes that focused on developing their creativity and life skills. In addition, more than 100 school teachers  attended workshops on how to improve their communication skills with their students to better assist them in their education. More than 1,000 parents were encouraged to practice skills for positive parenting and more than 500 socials workers were trained on how to build a positive relationship with children who come from economically vulnerable families.


New challenge in Ecuador

The work of ICDP in cooperation with the Capuchin order in Quito found a new opening this year.

During 2017, ICDP is being reactivated through the work of ICDP trainer Ilaina Ramirez. She held several workshops over the past few months which were directed to parents from the poor communities that are supported by the Capuchin order, as well as training teachers from several institutions.

As an additional challenge, ICDP training was also offered and adapted to work with 60 employees of the cooperative that supports the work with boys in re-education. 

In this context the guidelines and principles of the ICDP programme were used to improve relations among colleagues and to promote a positive attitude towards their own job tasks and activities. The ICDP guidelines were used within this new context related to working life, which proved to be a very interesting experience and beneficial for all participants.

All participants became involved in the process of self-evaluation and co-construction with the aim of trying to find ways to solve the difficulties detected in their working relationships. It is remarkable that all the sixty employees of the cooperative without distinction of position from the manager to the caretaker, contributed towards improving communication, creativity and leadership in the working environment.  

During training the participants were divided into two groups, so that separate workshops were conducted for two teams of 30 employees and then they attended one last workshop which involved the whole group of 60 employees. The final workshop had the purpose of exchanging, sharing and learning from each other’s experiences, but also formulating an action plan of a shared project aimed at continuing the process of working on relational improvements.

The method of the “Spiral” was also used – the goal of the spiral is to transfer project development competence to team members. It was developed by Einar Columbus Salvesen, ICDP board member and was adapted for ICDP use by Nicoletta Armstrong. The spiral is based on experiential learning and a series of team members’ meetings that provide a structured discussion space for examining problems, challenges and possibilities. Team members efforts alternate between planning and strategy formulation on one hand and attempts to implement strategies during a transitional period on the other hand;  then afterwards discussing the results of these attempts and re-formulating the strategy  – and thus successively, repeating the pattern. This process of alternation is “the spiral”. It is a method that requires a flexible and open approach during the exchange of experiences. It requires a structured discussion, where team members can focus on case studies and their experiences “in the field”. It is important to apply the empathy dialogue in this context. The experiences are summarized and transformed into transferable knowledge, which is used for the development of team members and to optimize their practical work as a team. Experience shows that it takes time, as well as experience, to achieve the transfer of the “spiral culture” and its integration into the productive life of a team of people. The spiral is optimized when combined with the support of external experts, such as development support consultants, at regular intervals.