Reviewing Parental Interventions Aimed at Reducing Risk Behavior in Children
Abt Associates was recently awarded a contract by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to conduct an exploratory study of intervention programs and services designed to improve parenting skills and reduce high-risk behaviors in children. This two-year project will examine parenting interventions and supports provided across the lifespan from the prenatal/infancy period through adolescence. The goal is to better understand how to support parents throughout children’s development in order to ultimately promote positive adolescent development and reduce risky behaviors in adolescence. "The study will focus across the developmental continuum, linking parental activities that occur in infancy and early and middle childhood with risk behaviors that may occur in adolescence." - Meredith Kelsey, Project Director
Assessing Parenting StrategiesThe first stage of the project includes a literature review and synthesis of research on parenting strategies and how they are linked to adolescent development and involvement in risk-taking behaviors. The review will also identify and describe the range of parenting interventions, strategies, and related support services aimed at improving parenting and child outcomes. Examples of these include home visiting, parent education programs, targeted interventions to address disruptive events, or interventions to address self-sufficiency with a parenting component.
Identifying Effective InterventionsActivities in the second part of the project include meeting with experts to understand the state of research and practice on a range of parenting interventions, and developing profiles of approximately 12-15 operational programs considered to be exemplary and/or innovative. The profiles will describe how parenting interventions and services are implemented in the field and the operational challenges they encounter. These activities will contribute to development of a research and practice agenda that identifies needs and gaps in the field, defines common elements of effective programs, and lays out options for future research and implementation. The two-year project will offer a greater understanding of the range of parenting interventions, with the ultimate goal of improving services that will support parents and promote the healthy development of children.