“I am more than my past”: Parents’ attitudes and perceptions of the Positive Parenting Program in Child Welfare

Antonio R. Garcia, Christina DeNard, Serena Ohene, Seth M. Morones, Clare Connaughton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Child welfare workers are challenged on a daily basis to achieve the goals of promoting child safety, permanency, and well-being. To achieve these goals, system leaders in two child welfare agencies in a large-Mid-Atlantic City received external funding to implement the Positive Parenting Program (TripleP), an evidence-supported parenting intervention (ESPI). While contextual and organizational barriers have been illuminated among clinicians and child welfare workers and leaders, less is known about the attitudes and perceptions of ESPIs among parents involved in the child welfare system. Thirty-five parents who graduated from or who were near completing Triple-P participated in one of four focus groups. Grounded Theory methods illuminated three core themes. Categories within the first theme “barriers of engagement” included lack of immediate acceptability, multiple demands, limited time and visitation privileges to practice new skills, and biased assessments by caseworkers. However, the parents overcame barriers (theme two) due to Triple-P providers’ ability to cultivate positive therapeutic alliances by praising and recognizing progress, adapting case studies for increasing applicability, and facilitating bonds between peers. Consequently, the parents illuminated the impacts of engagement (theme three), which included: confidence to engage in positive talk with children, increased insight of previous negative parenting practices, and recognition of positive and prosocial child behaviors. Findings underscore the salience of providing support and resources for clinicians and child welfare workers to effectively engage parents in ESPIs. Future research is needed to validate these findings in other agency contexts, and with attention to other ESPIs implemented in child welfare agencies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)286-297
Number of pages12
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
StatePublished - May 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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