Name: Samantha Gray
Organisation: Attachment Parenting International
Role: Executive Director
Country: United States
Attachment Parenting International was founded in 1994 and through education, support, outreach and research, API’s principal goal is to heighten global awareness of the profound significance of secure attachment - not only to reduce and ultimately prevent emotional and physical mistreatment of children, addiction, crime, behavioral disorders, mental illness, and other outcomes of early unhealthy attachment, but to invest in our children's bright futures. The mission of Attachment Parenting International (API) is to promote parenting practices that create strong, healthy emotional bonds between children and their parents. API believes that Attachment Parenting (AP) practices fulfill a child's need for trust, empathy, and affection and will provide a foundation for a lifetime of healthy relationships. Rooted in attachment theory, Attachment Parenting has been studied extensively for over 60 years by psychology and child development researchers, and more recently, by researchers studying the brain. These studies revealed that infants are born "hardwired" with strong needs to be nurtured and to remain physically close to the primary caregiver, usually the mother, during the first few years of life. The child's emotional, physical, and neurological development is greatly enhanced when these basic needs are met consistently and appropriately. These needs can be summarized as proximity, protection, and predictability. The long-range vision of Attachment Parenting is to raise children who will become adults with a highly developed capacity for empathy and connection. It eliminates violence as a means for raising children, and ultimately helps to prevent violence in society as a whole. API promotes parenting practices that create strong, healthy emotional bonds between children and their parents and as a result changes everything from the dynamic of a family to that of communities by improving school readiness to reducing violence. It accomplishes this on a grassroots level through its more than 60 Support Groups, 130 accredited Leaders, approximately 1,000 members, more than 7,000 subscribers and a number of strategic partnerships. API also serves as a clearinghouse and community of practice for AP education, research, and information dissemination. It publishes a quarterly magazine, The Attached Family, a science of attachment journal, a forum, blog, enewsletters, educational materials and other related publications. API relies upon individual donations, memberships, grants, fundraising and retail programs to fulfill its purpose of parenting with a mission by creating secure attachments through education, support, outreach and special programs. For API, staff and volunteers are closely interwoven as the staff is comprised of primarily devoted volunteers (more than 130), and many consultants doing significant pro bono work for API, who work from home in a virtual office environment, with most time spent in the community facilitating gatherings for parents and children, providing information, and facilitating parent/child activities and communication skills.