September 17, 2013
Today’s guest blogger is Dr. Alison Hyra, an experienced research and evaluation consultant, as well as a member of SCAN’s Council of Young Professionals.
SCAN provides parenting classes for Northern Virginia families that use a curriculum entitled the ABCs of Parenting. Like many social service agencies, SCAN collects important information about who attends the parenting program and how they might have changed as a result of participating in the curriculum.
As a member of SCAN’s Council of Young Professionals, I was excited to learn that SCAN had data about the last two years of parenting classes. Since I am also a professional evaluator focusing on parenting, marriage and families, I was eager to dig into SCAN’s data and see how the program was making a difference.
I’m pleased to report that my analysis indicates that SCAN’s parenting programs are making strong and significant changes among program participants.
We collected data on participants’ parenting attitudes before the program started and after the program ended. These attitudes are associated with levels of child abuse and neglect risk.
As a result of program completion, SCAN was able to reduce the percentage of parents deemed high risk by half. Additionally, by the end of the 8-week parenting course, between a third and a half of parents had a low risk of child abuse on each attitude.
This evaluation suggests that SCAN’s delivery of the ABCs of Parenting is making a difference in the lives of Northern Virginia families and children, and reducing the risk of child abuse and neglect. Thankfully, SCAN offers the classes in English and Spanish throughout the year, and the next session begins later this month.