In a recent report reviewing 150 studies of parenting programs for at-risk parents, home visiting programs held the most promise for parents of young children. The study, conducted at the University of California at Berkeley Center for the Study of Social Services Research (CSSR), concluded that parents who are at risk for child maltreatment may benefit from different 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.
In addition to programs serving parents of young children, the researchers looked at programs which were more effective with parents of older children, with ethnic minority families in low-income communities, with substance-abusing parents, and with parents at risk of neglecting their children. The report, Assessing Parent Education Programs for Families Involved With Child Welfare Services: Evidence and Implications, offers some guidance to child welfare agencies and staff in trying to identify the right program for a particular family by discussing specific promising programs and providing program descriptions, outcomes, estimated costs, and contact information for each.
In addition, the report (Download PDF) 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.