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December 14, 2009
What Works for Parent Involvement Programs for Children and Adolescents
Parents can play an important role in helping their children acquire or strengthen the behaviors and skills that promote physical and mental health and overall well-being. Recognizing this, a variety of programs and interventions engage parents in efforts to achieve positive outcomes for their children. Two new Child Trends fact sheets synthesize the findings from rigorous evaluations of parent involvement programs for children ages 6-11 and adolescents ages 12-17. The authors identify the components and strategies associated with successful programs and also point to gaps in research, particularly the need to better recruit and engage parents.
This fact sheet presents lessons learned from 67 parent involvement programs that work, don't work, or have mixed results for children aged 6-11. Overall, programs that actively engage parents generally have positive impacts on at least one child outcome. These include parenting skills training programs, parent-child involvement programs, and programs that actively involved both parents and children. Also, most programs that integrated technology into their interventions had positive impacts. However, parent education-only programs did not generally have impacts. The fact sheet includes a chart of the programs that worked or didn't work for different outcomes, and a glossary summarizing the programs.
What Works for Parent Involvement Programs for Adolescents: Lessons from Experimental Evaluations of Social Interventions
This fact sheet presents lessons learned from 47 parent involvement programs that work, don't work, or have mixed results for adolescents ages 12 to 17. Overall, nearly two-thirds of parent involvement programs were found to be effective. Interventions that build parenting skills generally had positive impacts on at least one outcome. All family and teen-focused therapeutic interventions were found to work. Also, programs with a combined focus on parents and teens--those that include intervention components for both groups--were likely to be effective. On the other hand, parent education programs--those that simply offer information, but do not give parents opportunities to practice related skills--did not tend to work. The fact sheet includes a chart of the programs that worked or didn't work for different outcomes, and a glossary summarizing the programs.