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April 2008Vol. 9, No. 3New Studies Show Effectiveness of Parent-Led Prevention Programs

Recent evaluations point to the efficacy of two nationally known parent-led programs for preventing child abuse and neglect.

Parents Anonymous®
A July 2007 report conducted by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency concludes that Parents Anonymous is a promising program for the reduction of child maltreatment. The longitudinal study assessed the impact of the Parents Anonymous program of parent mutual support and shared leadership on child maltreatment prevention.

The research included a national representative sample of diverse parents new to Parents Anonymous followed over 6 months. Evidence collected for the study showed statistically significant results for participating parents, including:

  • Reduced child maltreatment outcomes, including reductions in parenting distress, parental rigidity, and use of psychological aggression toward their children
  • Reduced risk factors, including reductions in parental distress, life stressors, domestic violence, and use of drugs and/or alcohol
  • Increased protective factors, including improvement in quality of life, emotional and social support, parenting competence, and family functioning

The study concluded that continued participation in Parents Anonymous programs over time resulted in improvement in child maltreatment outcomes in parents with a wide variety of demographics, background characteristics, and needs.

The full report is available online: (PDF - 871 KB)

Circle of Parents®
Circle of Parents uses a mutual self-help support group model as a means of strengthening families. Groups meet regularly to build protective factors and minimize or eliminate risk factors associated with child abuse and neglect. A report released by the Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida in November 2007 examined Circle of Parents evaluations completed in Florida, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Washington. The results indicate that participants in all four States showed improvement in multiple domains related to healthy parenting practices and social functioning. The findings were consistent across the States, despite a variety of program structures and diversity of group participants.

The report, Building the Evidence for Circle of Parents as a Model for Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect: Participant Characteristics, Experiences, and Outcomes, is available online: (PDF - 1,514 KB)