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Parenting Partnership

Ages 0-18

Rating: Level 3


Parenting Partnership is a collaborative initiative between corporate worksites and human service providers that concentrates on enhancing parenting skills, knowledge, and attitudes while at the same time facilitating the creation of support networks within the worksite. The program targets employed parents. Recruitment efforts concentrate on broad participation from mothers and fathers, and from employees of varied occupations and rank. It strives to prevent substance abuse and related socioemotional, behavioral, and academic difficulties by reducing the exposure of children and youths to developmental risk conditions and by enhancing protective factors in the family through the delivery of training sessions in partnership with corporations at the worksite. The program also aims to reduce family stress levels and attitudes that affect parents’ risk for substance abuse.

The delivery strategy was designed to overcome common barriers to participation. Parent training courses are held during the lunch or dinner break so parents do not have to take time away from their family. To avoid stereotypes of being in a substance abuse program, the program is presented as a parenting enhancement program. Supervisors in the workplace encourage their employees to attend the sessions, thus increasing the acceptability of the program among peers.

Training materials and coursework cover the development of a “parenting network.” Each complete Parenting Partnership course provides 24 one-hour sessions, twice a week, for 12 weeks. Separate content materials are available for parents of children ages 0 to 6, 7 to 12, and 13 to 18.


The evaluation used a single group, pretest–posttest design with 191 parents (ages 23–52) completing evaluation measures at pretest, posttest, and at 9-, 18-, and 30-month follow-ups. The sample was from diverse socioeconomic, cultural, and religious backgrounds, with 19 percent from racial/ethnic minorities. The parents had children of preschool age through adolescence. Seventy-three percent were married, and 65 percent were mothers. The sample consisted of employees from three large companies. The researchers assessed the program’s impact on risk and protective factors; parent–child interactions; parent knowledge and attitudes; child behavior problems/strengths; parental stress, depression, and social isolation/social support; and substance abuse knowledge and attitudes.


The evaluation found that program dosage was significantly related to program impact. Parents in the program who received high dosage levels (attendance in 80 percent or more of the classes) showed significant short-term and long-term improvements in child behavior problems and strengths, parenting practices and knowledge, and substance abuse resistance–related knowledge and attitudes; reduced parental stress, depression, and irritability; reduced levels of parental punishment; declines in work–family conflicts; and increased use of social support. By contrast, parents who received a low program dosage (attendance in fewer than 80 percent of the classes) exhibited a more restricted set of short-term gains. These parents reported reduced levels of parenting stress and work–family conflict and increased social networking. Notably, only 16 percent of the parents dropped out of Parenting Partnership, which is low for parent programs.

Risk Factors


  • Anti-social behavior and alienation/Delinquent beliefs/General delinquency involvement/Drug dealing
  • Favorable attitudes toward drug use/Early onset of AOD use/Alcohol and/or drug use
  • Life stressors


  • Family management problems/Poor parental supervision and/or monitoring
  • Maternal depression
  • Parental use of physical punishment/Harsh and/or erratic discipline practices
  • Poor family attachment/Bonding

Protective Factors


  • Healthy / Conventional beliefs and clear standards
  • High expectations
  • Perception of social support from adults and peers
  • Social competencies and problem-solving skills


  • Effective parenting
  • Good relationships with parents / Bonding or attachment to family
  • Having a stable family
  • High expectations
  • Opportunities for prosocial family involvement


  • SAMHSA: Model Programs


Felner, Robert D., Stephen Brand, Kay Erwin Mulhall, Brian Counter, Joyce B. Millman, and Judy Fried. 1994. “The Parenting Partnership: The Evaluation of a Human Service/Corporate Workplace Collaboration for the Prevention of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Problems, and the Promotion of Family and Work Adjustment.” Journal of Primary Prevention—Special Issue: Prevention and the Workplace 15(2):123–46.


Robert D. Felner, Ph.D.
National Center on Public Education and Social Policy
19 Upper College Road
University of Rhode Island
Kingston, RI 02818
Phone: (401) 874-5679
Fax: (401) 874-5453
Web site: