Juvenile delinquency prevention efforts ideally encompass a broad array of interventions. One critical strategy that deserves inclusion in this array is reduction of child maltreatment. An emerging body of research points persuasively to a strong link between the experience of abuse or neglect and subsequent delinquent behavior.
One promising program to address child abuse and neglect is Parents Anonymous. Parents Anonymous operates a network of parent-led, professionally facilitated, community-based groups. Numerous studies have shown that maltreating parents are often socially isolated, have smaller peer networks, and have less contact with and receive less help from their families. The extent to which interventions foster supportive social and emotional bonds between at-risk parents and others will likely increase the long-term effectiveness of any such efforts to promote more nurturing parenting (Belsky, 1993).
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention selected the National Council on Crime and Delinquency to conduct a process and outcome evaluation of the Parents anonymous program. This document represents the findings from a one year process evaluation. The overall goals for the process evaluation were to 1) describe the Parents anonymous model and operation, 2) gain an understanding of variations in implementation that may exist, and 3) explore factors that may account for observed variations.