Parent education programs may be offered or mandated at various stages of the child welfare services continuum. However, little is known regarding their efficacy in addressing the parenting problems that bring families to the attention of child welfare services. This article synthesizes outcome data generated from 58 parenting programs with families determined to be at-risk of child maltreatment and/or abusive or neglectful. It places parent education programs within the broader context of research on effective parenting as well as the leading etiological models of child maltreatment to assess the evaluations of these programs with regard to methodological rigor as well as theoretical salience. Practical and theoretical implications are presented along with recommendations for future research.
November 5, 2008