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February 2007Vol. 8, No. 1Evaluating Parenting Programs

Parents who are at risk for child maltreatment may benefit from parent education and training programs targeted for the age of the children, the type of abuse or neglect that has placed the families at risk, or certain parental or family characteristics. A recent report that reviewed 150 studies of parenting programs for at-risk parents found, for instance, that home visiting programs held the most promise for parents of young children. Other programs were more effective with parents of older children, with ethnic minority families in low-income communities, with substance-abusing parents, or with parents at risk of neglecting their children.

The abundance of parent training programs and the lack of replicable outcomes in many cases may place an agency or practitioner in the difficult position of trying to identify the right program for a particular family. This report, Assessing Parent Education Programs for Families Involved With Child Welfare Services: Evidence and Implications, offers some guidance by discussing specific promising programs and providing program descriptions, outcomes, estimated costs, and contact information for each. Recommendations are also provided for contracting with parenting programs. In addition, the report places its findings in context by describing what is understood to be effective parenting, as well as parenting issues for families at risk for maltreatment.

The report was written by Michelle A. Johnson et al. and is available on the Center for Social Services Research website: (572 KB)

Related Items

Children's Bureau Express has addressed the topic of parenting programs in a number of past issues. To find these articles, type the keyword "parenting" into the search box on the Children's Bureau Express home page: