About IPI

About IPI
In 2007, Laura Smith-Wynn founded the 501(c)3 nonprofit From-the-Heart Parenting, Inc. in Merrillville, Indiana as a parenting and family management resource for parents with children birth to 18 years challenged by the complexities of raising children today - especially in the context of keeping children safe and thriving.
She was convinced that helping a parent was foundational to ensuring the future wellbeing of today’s children.



In 2008, the name was changed to Indiana Parenting Institute, Inc.™ (IPI) to fully communicate and promote the scope of programs, services, and resources provided by its evidence-informed, group-based parentingBirth2Eighteen program model (B2E), and available to ALL Indiana families, which today includes:

  • Access and training to best practices in parenting and family management practices
  • Consultation to new and emerging parenting and family management agencies
  • Parenting education for teachers and daycare staff who, like parents, serve as both nurturer and educator to their students.
  • Training family educators, teachers, daycare staff, and youth leaders on family engagement
  • Advocating on the need for, and value of, responsible parenting education with opinion leaders and policy makers
  • Consulting on content, program implementation, and grant proposals with other agencies
  • Serving as a clearinghouse on best practices in our newsletters and in published works on responsible parenting
In addition, IPI has been contracted by the state of Indiana to provide the following family services:

  • Parenting Education
  • Father Engagement
  • Domestic Violence
  • Support Group for Resource (foster) Families

The Deep Dive

Our Mission/Vision

To strengthen parents through education and training, thus creating a better environment for children and families to thrive.
IPI has committed itself to helping prevent and eradicate child abuse and neglect by educating and engaging families and communities in support of effective and responsible parenting, which has been proven via scientific research to protect the wellbeing of children, helping to create a safe, healthier, caring environment for children and families to thrive.

Our Goal

To support provisioning the myriad needs and services families today are confronted with daily – in order to stabilize family relationships and wellbeing so that kids stay safe.

Our Vision

To be the preeminent authority on Parenting Education for Urban and Rural Families.

Why group-based learning?

The trauma-impacted families that IPI was working with proved highly responsive when program content was delivered under a fellowshipping atmosphere. Such learning condition seemed to provide these families with the (safe and supportive) environment they needed to open up, build trust and self-confidence, and to uncover their value and contributions to others.

As a result, it revealed the therapeutic modality that group-based learning can serve as for those impeded by social underdevelopment, usually resulting from having had to mature quickly (usually due to trauma), and to thus spend the bulk of their developmental years in survival mode (i.e., focused on self-protection and self-preservation).

In other words, such format provided these families with the opportunity and environment needed to mature their socialization and networking competencies (building their social capital), and to learn how to both ask for help and to provide help to others.

It also helped them to see their concerns realistically, as they learned they are not alone in the barriers they are confronting, and that there are indeed viable options out there for resolving them. As a result, they learned to develop community with each other, which then translated into their lifestyles and into their living environments.

We are not a bunch of folk in a room being taught stuff, but rather we are a room of parents sharing with each other, and encouraging each other, how best to work with the knowledge and skills we shared and got that day.

Our Accomplishments

In 2018, IPI was selected to be the community-based organization representative for Governor Holcomb’s Workforce Cabinet.

In 2017, IPI celebrated ten (10) years of service to Indiana families, and was recognized by the Governor’s Task Force on Drug Enforcement, Treatment & Prevention as a Substance Use Disorder Treatment Best Practice. Click HERE to learn more…

In 2017, IPI provided services to 1,070 parents in Lake County and the surrounding communities:

  • 95% of those served were females; 5% males
  • 80% were African American, 15% Hispanic, and 5% Caucasian
  • Education: 35% did not graduate high school, 40% had a high school diploma/GED, while 25% had attended at least some college
  • Median parent age served was 32 years, with multiple children ages 18 and under
  • 75% of the parents served were unmarried, 10% married, 15% divorced
  • 98% had an average annual income of less than $25,000

In 2014, IPI’s Founder and CEO was appointed by then Governor Mike Pence to serve on the state’s Kids Trust Fund Board.

Check out our 1-pager HERE!