Opportunities - Attachment and Child Health (ATTACH™): Implementation Science Study

Attachment & Child Health (ATTACH™) Program Promoting Vulnerable Children's

Health at Scale

The University of Calgary


ATTACH™ is a promising early intervention and educational parenting program for delivery in community agencies serving families of preschoolers affected by toxic stress (i.e. parental depression and addiction, family violence, poverty). Children’s exposure to toxic stress leads to developmental problems (e.g. cognitive and motor), physical health problems (e.g. inflammatory disorders), and years of life lost to disability, resulting in health care system burden. Effective early interventions focused on supporting parent-child relationships are needed to reduce societal health inequities from childhood stress exposures. ATTACH™ addresses this need through an innovative, novel approach to early intervention that focuses on improving parent-child relationship quality by targeting parents’ underlying reflective function (RF), which is the ability to better understand one’s own and one’s child’s thoughts and feelings. RF is essential for high quality parent-child relationships and secure parent-child attachment, both tied to child development and health. ATTACH™ aims to positively increase parental RF through practice to improve child developmental outcomes. Pilot data from previous research show that ATTACH™ is effective; however, scaling and spreading the program to real-world community agencies remains a challenge. We are evaluating the ATTACH™ program to determine its effectiveness and feasibility in real-world settings in Alberta and Manitoba.


Roles and Responsibilities

The ATTACH™ Team is looking for parents who have children under age 18, and preferably under 6 years of age,  to join our Parent Engagement Committee (PEC) as parent advisors and share their thoughts and ideas, to provide input and feedback. Their roles and responsibilities are as follows:

  • Parent advisors will be asked to provide a patient/client perspective and feedback on the implementation of the ATTACH™ program into existing community agencies that serve at-risk parents and children.
  • Parent advisors will be asked to provide expert advice on a host of ATTACH™ related matters including recruitment of clients, documents /questionnaires clients receive, and how to best how agencies engage with clients.
  • Parent advisors will be asked to join our Parent Engagement Committee and meet with agency staff about the specific clientele they serve and how best to engage their clientele to participant in the ATTACH™ Program.

Time Commitment

Parent advisors are required to attend three one-hour group meetings per year for a two and a half year period with a focus on scaling this evidence-based ATTACH™ parenting program.

  • Meetings will be held via Zoom.
  • Start date will be approximately January 15th 2021 to June 15th 2023.


Parent advisors will be compensated for their time via gift cards in the amount of $30.00 for each meeting attended.

No out-of-pocket expenses should be incurred during the duration of this study.


Project Team Contact Information

Name: Dr. Nicole Letourneau

Email: nicole.letourneau@ucalgary.ca

Phone: 403-210-3833