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The Parent Project
In pursuit of Best Practice Model status

Field Studies

American Bar Association

The American Bar Association researched family involvement programs for adjudicated youth, nationally. Their published report (August, 2001) is entitled “Parental Involvement Practices of Juvenile Courts, Report to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, United States Department of Justice.” This report identified the Parent Project as the largest court-mandated juvenile diversion program in the country; the only program operating in multiple states; the only program with a structured, published curriculum; and the only program that offers a 40-hour, STC certified training for replication in other communities. The Center’s complete published report is available through the American Bar Association. For book orders, you can call the ABA Service Center 800-285-2221 (Order # 5490314)

East Los Angeles, CA Collaborative

In 2009, the East Los Angeles Parent Project Collaborative graduated 347 parents. Almost all of the parents had been court-mandated to attend the 10-week class. All of the juveniles were on probation. LA County Juvenile Probation tracked the juvenile offenders for 180 days after graduation. Only 6.63% were rearrested. Only 2.59% were incarcerated. (The average recidivism rate for LA County juvenile probationers is approximately 15%.) The East LA Parent Project Collaborative includes the LA County District Attorney, LA County Sheriff’s Department, LA County Eastlake Juvenile Court Judges, LA County Juvenile Probation, and LA County Department of Parks and Recreation. For more information on their research, please contact Albert Gomez with the East LA County Collaborative.
Contact Parent Project Facilitator, East LA County Collaborative


Interested in juvenile recidivism, a juvenile justice district in Idaho conducted a comparison study using juvenile crime data in two adjoining school districts (both were served by the same judicial district, offered identical prevention/intervention programs, matched demographically BUT only one offered the Parent Project). Those research findings were published in OJJDP’s Journal. See pages 30-32.
OJJDP Journal – See pages 30-32

Northern Idaho

A qualitative study of parent perceptions of their changes in attitudes and parenting was conducted by Dr. Nancy Kuneau in 2008, assessing the benefits of Parent Project programs with a parent population in rural Northern Idaho. All participants had positive perceptions of the impact of program attendance on their knowledge base and parenting skills.

Kuneau, N., (2008). An Investigation of Benefit: Parent Perceptions of The Parent Project for Adjudicated or At-Risk Youth in Rural Communities. University of Idaho, Boise, doctoral dissertation. UMI number: 3347521

Kern County, CA

There are currently 120 OJJDP Funded, Gang Prevention and Intervention Programs in the US. Because the Parent Project is the only program in the country that offers concrete interventions for all of the risk factors above, forty-seven of these programs use the Parent Project for their parent education component. One such program is the Kern County Superintendent of Schools countywide gang prevention and intervention program, “Project 180”. The Kern County program is considered a model program by OJJDP and they were invited to present at the National Gang Symposium in June of 2011, in Orlando, Florida. Project 180 uses the Science-Based “Youth Level of Service / Case Management Inventory Assessment Tool”. The YLS instrument measures Risk Levels of youth, individual or environmental factors associated with anti-social behavior. Using the Parent Project in conjunction with their teen program/s, “Risk Levels” among youth in the program decreased by 75%.

The Parent Project directly addresses the following Risk Factors of the Youth Level of Service / Case Management Inventory Assessment Tool: General offenses, Restlessness, Risk-taking, Aggression, Physical violence, Crimes against person, Antisocial behavior, Substance abuse, Poor parent-child relationships, Harsh or lax discipline, Poor monitoring/supervision, Low parental involvement, Antisocial parents, Abusive parents, Family conflict, Poor school attendance and performance, Antisocial-delinquent peers, and Gang membership.

Roseville, CA Police Department

The Roseville Police Department in Northern California, conducted their own research. 60 to 80% of every law enforcement agency’s calls for service are juvenile related. The Roseville Police Department wanted to see if they could reduce their calls for service in that area. They looked at the first 15 families that took the Parent Project Classes. 6 months prior to taking the program, those 15 families generated 87 juvenile related calls for service. 6 months after taking the Parent Project, the same 15 families generated only 4 calls for service. The Roseville Police Department is continuing to track their families and after 4 years, demonstrated a 73% reduction in juvenile related calls for service.

Roseville Research
Contact Parent Project Facilitator, Roseville Police Department

Santa Barbara, CA

Employing qualitative evaluation of parent responses to a structured interview following Parent Project class attendance, the majority of parents reported positive changes in all five “Domains” of change, including a change in destructive adolescent behavior and providing daily structure for their children.

Guerena, S. (2014) Report of the Parent Project and Padres Adelante Evaluation Project: Most Significant Change (MSC) Method. Parent Project Santa Barbara and United Parents/Padres Unidos. 609 Las Perlas Drive, Santa Barbara, California 93111.

Formal Parent Project Research

Much research of the last 50 years in the social sciences has been Pretest / Posttest, (‘repeated measures’) design. Measures are gathered at the beginning, and again at the end of an experimental procedure. While valuable, Pretest / Posttest research does not meet the standards of Evidence-Based, or Best Practice Model criteria. Described below are several Pretest / Posttest studies that have been completed. Below is a description of the current randomized control group study that is currently in process, that will hopefully help to establish The Parent Project as a Best Practice Model, Evidence-Based program.

Pre-test / Post-test Research

While at Cal State San Bernardino, Dr. Heidi Stoltz completed two pieces of research on the Parent Project classes: an 8-week qualitative focus group; and a quantitative, 10-week pre- and post-program survey at several national sites. Dr. Stoltz’s research demonstrates SIGNIFICANT positive changes in effective parenting in every area studied.
Dr. Heidi Stoltz continues to conduct research on Parent Project classes, nationwide.
Sample Parent Project Class Site Survey

An outcome research study was recently completed by Dr. Diana Doumas, a professor at Boise State University (see citation below). This is the most recent study in a growing body of research showing positive results for parents completing Parent Project programs. Pre-test and post-test data were gathered from parents attending ten-week Parent Project programs. Parents reported a significant increase in general child management, family involvement, and communication about rules regarding substance use, and a significant decrease in negative parent–child affective quality. The statistical measures reported showed strong and positive results. This study was published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Addictions and Offender Counseling, October, 2015.

Citation: Doumas, D. et. al., (2015) Evaluation of a Parent-Based Intervention for At-Risk Adolescents, 36, 66-80, DOI: 10.1002/jaoc.12004

Fairfax County, Virginia Juvenile & Domestic Relations District Court (JDRDC). (unpublished study)

Study #1: A pilot pre-test/post-test study was conducted by the Fairfax County, Virginia, JDRDC Court Services Unit in about 2014. The initial pilot study involved 19 parents, who unanimously reported that the Parent Project program had been “good for my family.” 82% of the participant families’ children for whom they were taking the class reportedly had “court involvement.” 27 measures were taken from parents in night one, and again at the end of the ten-week program. 26 of 27 scores showed positive change (one had no change). 16 of the 27 measures showed statistically significant positive change at the posttest.

Study #2: Fairfax JDRDC followed up with Parent Project programs at three more sites, completing this more comprehensive study submitted in March, 2018. Data from all four sites showed even stronger results. 22 of 27 measures demonstrated significant positive change at the end of the ten-week program (26 of 27 measures demonstrated positive movement, 22 of which were statistically significant). 100% of parent participants stated they would recommend this program to other parents, and reported they felt they had learned new and useful information in this training. All parents stated they were “very satisfied” with the training and said the Parent Project® has been good for their family.

Dr. Collins’s doctoral dissertation in 1996 employed pre- and post-test surveys of parents’ reports of their children’s behavior. Positive results were noted at the significant level on most measures, for most subjects. Interestingly, parents that were court or ‘system referred’ had somewhat greater positive changes in scores than self-referred parents.

Collins, C.J., (1996, July 22) A Study in the Effectiveness of The Parent Project, a Parent Education Program. University of Idaho, Boise, doctoral dissertation.

Randomized Control Group Research

The Parent Project is currently being evaluated in a randomized control group study in conjunction with Rosemead Graduate School at Biola University, and two large Southern California Juvenile Probation Departments. Measures include the Achenbach Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) an Empathy measure, a Morality Index, and raw data from probation, schools, and law enforcement contacts. Data collection is now complete from the study at one of the two departments. The data from the study are now being analyzed. Results will be reported when available.

The Parent Project continues to seek out new opportunities across the nation for high-level randomized control group research. If your agency is interested in conducting high-level randomized control group research on the Parent Project, contact [email protected]