How to Become an API Leader


API Support Groups are held all over the world. Groups usually meet monthly in a library, religious institution, community center, hospital or someone's home. Accredited Leaders support parents by offering information and guidance needed to empower and strengthen the family. API Support Group Leaders are making progress with community outreach activities that educate parents and professionals who are not familiar with Attachment Parenting (AP).

No Support Groups in Your Area?

Consider forming a new group by taking the first step which is to become an accredited leader. In the final stages of accreditation, you will be connected with current leaders who will mentor you as you establish the new group in your community.

Why does API have a Leader Accreditation process?

Partnership - The accreditation process helps API align applicants who desire to become Leaders in a way that each person is working to serve parents and communities in unison from the API Mission Statement.  

Preparation - Leaders are peer parents who represent API in their neighborhoods.  As such, API is responsible to the parents in those communities and wishes to provide the necessary preparation and support needed for those who volunteer in the role of Leader. API desires for a successful and fulfilling Leadership experience for each applicant.   

Mission - API's mission is to educate and support all parents in raising secure, joyful and empathic children in order to strengthen families and create a more compassionate world. Dedicated volunteers help to make this happen. Through the Leadership process API promises to provide the information and support to each Leader so that they can offer it to the parents who attend support groups.

What do Leader Applicants gain from the accreditation process?

The API Leader accreditation process is designed to provide applicants access to and practice with valuable skills and knowledge that can be applied in multiple aspects of API Leadership and life.

API Leader Applicants will be exposed to:

• Knowledge about Attachment Parenting information, theory, and practice.

• Preparation for sharing ideas and resources with other parents.

• Skillful communication techniques.

• Effective methods to overcome challenges with individuals and group dynamics.

• Successful ways to help parents problem-solve in family situations.


Accredited API Leaders enjoy access to:

·       An established network of like-minded parents, professionals, and organizations throughout the world.

·       Free publicity via a support group listing on API’s website with meeting times, locations, and a link to the group’s website.  

·       Support from peer Leaders and staff via private forums, sites and publications.

·       API’s library of meeting ideas, research, news articles, and other materials.

·       Personal parenting support for API Leaders, as needed.

·       Marketing assistance and templates for promotions.

How long does it take to become accredited?

The accreditation process averages six or more months and has been completed in as little as two months. Applicants work at a pace that is best for the individual and his/her family. As an Applicant please allot time for:

  • Reading the three core books as well as four additional selections * and preparing brief reviews.
  • Responding to a series of questions from the Leader Applicant Liaison (LAL).
  • Reviewing videos and training documents provided by the LAL.

Accredited API Leaders are expected to allot time to:

  • Organizing, advertising and facilitating at least nine meetings per year.

* The list of additional readings is provided by the LAL. Applicants may also ask about substituting other readings they might have already completed.

Why the accreditation process structured the way it is?

API’s accreditation process works well for applicants who are motivated, have strong initiative and are open to alignment with API’s work and mission. Applicants need to be comfortable working within a structure that falls between “anything goes” and that of an extensive, expensive training. These are some of the same qualities that we appreciate in our API Leaders.

This approach allows for a joint exploration of important and influential beliefs and attitudes as well as helps to strengthen the alignment between API and the applicant. The written format of our process facilitates reflection and the personalized attention from the LAL means that the experience is more likely to “stick” and continue to serve as a touchstone as applicants move into Leadership.

On a practical level, our structure is ultimately the most sustainable. Leader applicants live all over the world and are typically parents with young children, busy schedules and snug budgets. The accreditation process allows API to come into communities in the most flexible and practical ways possible for volunteers while still providing standards and support for strong API Leadership.

Accreditation steps

The accreditation process may be loosely categorized into three main parts. Upon application, volunteers will be provided with greater detail of the process and have the ability to track their progress by referring to the detailed steps in each Part:

  • Part I - Application
  • Part II - Reading, Reviewing and Conversing
  • Part III - Final Administrative Steps


Part I - Getting Started with API’s Accreditation Process

  1. Read API’s Eight Principles of Parenting and the Leader Guidelines.
  2. Application support - details coming soon
    1. Contact Lisa Ricciuti, API Leader Applicant Liaison (


Part II - Reading, Reviewing and Conversing

1.  Read and Provide Brief, Personalized Reviews of the 3 Core API Leader Books.

1. This can be done before submitting your application or during any and all parts of the application process.

·       Attached at the Heart by Barbara Nicholson and Lysa Parker

·       Nonviolent Communication by Marshall B. Rosenberg

·       Hold Onto Your Kids by Gordon Neufeld (DVD or Book)

2. Read and Provide Brief Reviews of Four Additional Resources.

1.  When your application has been received, the LAL will send a list of approved books as well as provide guidance on writing reviews.

2.  Some applicants will have already read many of these books and are encouraged to read as many as possible.

3.  Materials other than the ones listed may be substituted at the discretion of the LAL - please ask! Exceptions to the requirements will be made for non-English speaking applicants.

4.  In instances where the applicant lacks experience with a particular API principle additional reading may be selected or required. An example might be in the area of positive discipline for applicants who have infants and have not yet had the opportunity to practice positive discipline with their own children.

3. Dialogue.  

a. The LAL will sequentially introduce and discuss via email the following topics with the applicant:

1.    Applicant’s answers from application

2.    API’s Eight Principles of Parenting

3.    API Leader Guidelines and book reviews

4.    Support group facilitation and benefits of co-leadership

5.    Personal bias, nonjudgmental communication and respect of others

6.    Role playing support situations

7.    API’s Leader Manual and other documents that focus on:

§  Organizing and leading meetings

§  Finding a meeting place

§  Creating meeting topics

§  Raising funds for the group

§  Finding appropriate reporting forms for the group

§  Publicizing the support group

b. Through this reflective conversation API learns about the applicant as a parent and a person. The LAL explores these reflections with the applicant in order to assist in any areas where additional skills, knowledge or comfort may be helpful in representing the principles of API, helping parents and/or leading meetings.

c. Responses are not required to be very long, but they do need to be complete and include references to the applicant’s personal experiences and journey. The LAL may extend any question where more clarification or understanding is needed.  

Tips for completion:  

  • The reading and reviews can be going on simultaneously with the dialogue.
  • Follow the guidance letter on how to complete the reviews which will be provided with the approved reading list.
  • Write up and submit each review as you complete the reading.


Part III - Final Administrative Steps

  1. Confirmation of contact information for Leader.
  2. Determination of new support group name*.
  3. Leader Community Site and Yahoo Group.
  4. New Leader is listed on API Resources.

© 1994-2019 Attachment Parenting International. All Rights Reserved. API is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. 

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