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Parents Who Care


David Hawkins, Ph.D. & Richard Catalano, Ph.D.
Developmental Research & Programs
Contact: Channing Bete
200 State Road
South Deerfield, MA 01373
(877) 896-8532           Fax: (800) 499-6464

Family Skills Training Speciality
12-16 years Target
Model Rating

Parents Who Care (PWC) is an educational skill-building program created for families with children between the ages of 12-16. The objective of PWC is to reduce risk factors and strengthen protective factors within family settings that are known to predict later alcohol and other drug use, delinquency, violent behavior, and other behavioral problems in adolescence. The PWC program is grounded theoretically in the social development model which emphasizes that young people should experience opportunities for active involvement in family, school, and community, should develop skills for success, and should be given recognition and reinforcement for positive effort and improvement. PWC focuses on strengthening family bonds and establishing clear standards for behavior, helping parents more appropriately manage their teenager's behavior while encouraging their adolescent growth toward independence. In this process, PWC seeks to change specific risk and protective factors in the family and peer domains: parent and sibling drug use, positive parental attitudes towards drug use, poor and inconsistent family management practices, family conflict, low family communication and involvement, family bonding, and association with delinquent and drug using peers.

The program is designed to be led by a facilitator and taught once a week in 5 to 6 sessions lasting 1-2 hours. The program is very flexible and can be facilitated through schools, healthcare organizations, civic organizations, social service organizations and faith institutions. Parents that attend the workshops are provided with their own parent module for use at home. The PWC book consists of seven chapters and corresponding video segments. The video follows four ethnically diverse families as they struggle with the issues and emotions that many parents confront. The program is structured around three major topics: 1) setting the stage, which covers the importance of risk and protective factors; 2) the power of communication; and 3) family management.

An experimental evaluation was conducted with 66 families with adolescents ages 12 to 16. The families were self-identified as having adolescents who were at risk for developing problems with alcohol, drug use or delinquency. The research design was a pretest posttest design with random assignment to either a treatment (n = 35) or wait-list control group (n = 31). Analyses revealed significant differences in risk and protective factors targeted by the intervention at posttest between the two groups. Results for parent participants indicated that the treatment group showed a statistically significant improvement in three areas: 1) family discipline, 2) family attitudes favorable to antisocial behavior, and 3) level of family bonding. The treatment group at posttest also showed lower levels of risk factors of poor family supervision and low parental commitment to school. Overall, the evaluation shows promise for changing family-focused risk and protective factors.


Implementation Costs:

To conduct a PWC parent group, one discussion leader is needed who has facilitation experience, and who is familiar with the basic elements of learning theory and its application to both adolescents and adult learning. The facilitation should be familiar with the content of PWC and be able to adapt the program to fit specific community needs.

The program package contains everything needed to hold the parent discussion groups including one Facilitator's Manual complete with video and workbook, activities, blackline Masters, discussion questions, resources and ten parent modules for $1,200.00. Additional Facilitator and parent modules are available at $299.00 and $99.00, respectively. To encourage parent participation, transportation to the location should be considered and child care would be beneficial for younger children accompanying the parents. Also, providing the individual parent modules at no cost or at a nominal fee would be helpful.

Training Costs:

Contact the Channing Bete/Developmental Research & Programs for more information.


Revised 06/20/2001

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