Strengthening America's Families:
Exemplary Parenting and Family Strategies
For Delinquency Prevention



Years of program development and research have provided effective strategies for strengthening America's families to prevent juvenile delinquency. This document has been written to help program planners, policy makers and service providers determine the most effective family-focused and parenting intervention strategies for the high-risk youth and families they serve. This guide will review what is currently known in the research literature about the impact of family characteristics on risk for delinquency as well as the most promising family change interventions. Providers using the guide will be better able to choose or modify existing programs or create new interventions for high-risk youth in their communities. The guide contains four major sections:

Part I: Family Influence on Juvenile Delinquency
This section will help service providers understand the factors that influence juvenile delinquency and why certain family strengthening approaches reduce delinquency among youth. Additionally, research literature on the types of family characteristics that impact juvenile delinquency, statistics reporting juvenile delinquency rates, and family protective and resilience facts are reported in this section.

Part II: Review Of Family Strengthening Programs
This section reviews program strategies shown to be effective in preventing problems that often lead to delinquency. Various approaches including family and parenting approaches are described. Issues of cost-effectiveness of prevention programs are also addressed.

Part III: Principles of Effective Family-Based Programs
This section suggests that there is no single best family-based program. Rather, effective programs tend to have several principles that guide their implementation activities. It is recommended that service providers review these principles and incorporate them in selecting and planning family- based programs. Critical issues such as recruitment, attrition, staff training, and program evaluation are also discussed.

Part IV: Family Strengthening Project
This section describes a national search to find the highest quality family-based prevention programs and outlines the strategy designed to disseminate this information. The programs selected are identified and additional instruction is provided on how to utilize the information provided. The final section presents brief one-page descriptions and contact information for the eleven "exemplary" parenting/family programs and provides information on how to access further program information.

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Dept. of Health Promotion and Education