- Report Published -
|An Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Existing Approaches to Parenting Education for Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention|
|Department of Social Services|
|HJR 447 (Regular Session, 1993)|
|House Joint Resolution 447, passed by the 1993 General Assembly, directed the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) to evaluate the effectiveness of existing approaches to parenting education. The Resolution cited the incidences of child abuse and neglect and of foster care placements in Virginia and noted the need for parents to have adequate parenting skills.|
This study focused on 25 parent education programs funded through the Virginia Family Violence Prevention Program in 1993 to prevent child maltreatment. Evaluation objectives included analyzing characteristics of existing programs and identifying commonalities and differences in approach and implementation; assessing components of appropriate and effective approaches; identifying populations currently served by existing programs as well as those which would benefit from such programs; and determining the cost of offering different approaches to parenting education.
The research tam conducted a review of existing literature on parenting education and of similar evaluations in other states; initial site visits to all 25 programs, and intensive evaluation of a representative group of six programs. Existing approaches to parent education represent a variety of formats, including structured education classes using standard curricula, workshops, support groups, and home visiting programs. Each may be a viable and vital component of a strategy for the primary prevention of child maltreatment, depending on the needs of a given client population and community. Client populations vary markedly among and within projects. Some include "at-risk" parents and families, while others focus on providing services to parents from the general population.
Successful programs appeared to understand and match the parenting needs of their individual communities, by choosing and modifying appropriate curricula, identifying concrete goads and objectives for their programs, tailoring the format of their programming in terms of intensity and duration, and planning effective client recruitment and retention efforts. The most effective programs also provide staff and volunteer training and supervision, identify and evaluate outcome measures of effectiveness, and balance direct service provision with administrative and fundraising needs.