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July/August 2004Vol. 5, No. 6Parenting Program Successes

Innovative parenting education programs have the potential to change the lives of both parents and their children. An article in the May/June 2004 issue of Children's Voice highlights three promising parenting programs, noting their successes with different populations of parents and children.

Parents as Teachers (PAT) is a program for parents of young children based on brain research and child development. Thus, certain activities are emphasized at certain points in a child's development, and parents learn what to expect at each stage, from pregnancy to kindergarten. PAT educators, who generally have degrees in child development and significant experience, have been shown to be particularly helpful with teen mothers. Studies also have shown that PAT children have significantly better school readiness scores, compared to other comparable groups of children.

Another parenting education program that addresses the needs of young children is Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY). Parents in the community are trained as educators who then visit the homes of the families enrolled in HIPPY. During their weekly visits, the educators bring books and other materials and help the parents work with their 3- to 5-year-old children on school readiness skills. Educators also are trained to help parents navigate other services that might be helpful for them and their children.

The Parent Project has a different target audience: the parents of school-aged children and teenagers. This program has been adopted by the San Clemente, CA, Sheriff's Department as an option for parents with difficult teenagers. Parents attend the 10-week course to learn about the dangers that teens face and to learn skills to supervise their own teenagers. This program has become popular throughout the nation and is now the largest court-mandated or juvenile diversion program in the country.

The full text of this article, "Teach Your Parents Well," can be downloaded from the Child Welfare League of America website at

Related Items

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, recently released a report on using parenting programs to prevent child abuse. Using Evidence-Based Parenting Programs to Advance CDC Efforts in Child Maltreatment Prevention describes a number of initiatives that the CDC has begun to research, including the effectiveness of a universal parenting program, maintaining parent participation in programs, and the efficacy of an ecobehavioral model that uses in-home protocols to prevent and treat child abuse. This research brief can be downloaded at (PDF - 114 KB).

Children's Bureau Express looked at a parenting program for abusive fathers in "Treating Fathers Who Maltreat" (May 2004).