SUNY Oswego professor Dr. Matthew Dykas, chair of the psychology department, received a $150,000 grant from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation to fund another year of his ongoing work with the Circle of Security Parenting program.

The program, which Dykas has put into motion in Oswego County over several years at many non-profit service organizations, will be able to expand into six nearby counties: Jefferson, Lewis, Onondaga, Cayuga, Madison and Oneida. 

“This grant will allow us to recruit new agencies who have been interested in deploying Circle of Security Parenting to the families they serve,” Dykas said. “I’m really excited about partnering with these agencies to expand the Central New York Attachment Network so we can serve many more families.”

The funding will also allow Dykas and his community partners to help creatively solve problems that keep parents from accessing the Circle of Security program, such as transportation in rural areas. The COVID-19 pandemic has only compounded these issues which this funding will help begin to mend.

“After nearly two years of recovery from a pandemic that has hit vulnerable populations the hardest, we must continue to address the challenges communities across New York state are facing: food and housing insecurity, lack of access to basic healthcare including vaccines, lack of equity within the healthcare professions, and racial and economic healthcare disparities made worse during COVID-19. We must continue to support the full range of services that make for healthy people and communities,” said Msgr. Gregory Mustaciuolo, Chief Executive Officer of the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation.

Circle of Security Parenting

Circle of Security Parenting is an eight-week group program based on over 75 years of attachment theory and research. In essence, parents can come and address what has happened to them in the past, how it’s impacting their present and how they can continue forward as parents in relationship with their children. 

“I think one key thing we do is help parents understand how one’s past comes into the present,” Dykas said. “Parents have good intentions and want what’s best for their children, but sometimes there could be  a personal barrier or two that may pose challenges to the relationship . That’s what we’re trying to do –- we’re trying to help parents explore and reflect on those feelings.” 

The model of the program is also to address the lifespan of relationships, which can transcend beyond parenting. Dykas said that the Circle of Security is a helpful tool for any relationship, whether a partnership, a friendship, or for adoptive and foster parents. 

“I have three grown teenage kids and I use it every day with them, “ Dykas said. “But I also rely on the model frequently in my interactions with family, friends, and even students at the college u. It’s a great framework for understanding people’s essential needs for connectedness and belonging, and how we can respond to those needs effectively.” 

Since Dykas has brought Circle of Security Parenting to Oswego County, he has trained over 75 professionals to host the program and hundreds of parents and caregivers  have gone through the program itself with many testimonials of its effectiveness.

CNY Attachment Network

The Central New York Attachment Network is a collaboration between several not-for-profit agencies that are currently implementing the Circle of Security Parenting program. The network is managed by Prevention Support Partners located at the SUNY Oswego.

If you are a parent looking to participate in Circle of Security Parenting, you can view a calendar of agencies hosting a program near you at

The Mother Cabrini Health Foundation

The Mother Cabrini Health Foundation is a private, nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the health and well-being of New Yorkers, bolster the health outcomes of vulnerable communities, eliminate barriers to care, and bridge gaps in health services. 

Named after a tireless advocate for immigrants, children, and the poor, the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation funds programs and initiatives across New York State that either provide direct healthcare services or address the social determinants of health. 

For more information, visit