The Parent Project Story

Concerned by the number of parents who approached their Community Police Unit about their child’s drug use, officers developed a class to help parents identify, prevent and intervene in teen substance use. Twenty parents of high-risk youth were personally invited and 19 attended that first class. In the middle of the second session parents began opening up, asking for help with issues that went far beyond just drug use.

  • “My son is in a gang. What can I do?”
  • “What do you do when your child hits you?”
  • “My child ran away. What should I do?”
  • “What do I do when my child screams and curses at me?”
  • “My child refuses to go to school. What can I do?”
  • “My daughter is prostituting herself to pay for her drugs. How do I get my daughter back?”

Officers searched for a curriculum that focused on highly destructive adolescent behaviors, issues patrol officers deal with daily, but none existed. Undeterred, the team sought expert advice from psychologists and curriculum specialists to help them develop a program that offered concrete answers for every parent question asked.

Two years later the Parent Project® had grown to 10 sessions with a following parent-led support group. To meet the growing need, officers held 7 classes per year in both English and Spanish. Classes averaged more than 35 parents each and the waitlist to take the next class continued to grow.

The Parent Project® would eventually be named, “Distinguished Program of the Year” by the California Youth Authority. Other law enforcement agencies, school districts and juvenile probation departments took notice and the team developed a training to help interested agencies run their own program.

Now in its 28th year, the Parent Project® has become the largest court mandated juvenile diversion program in the country. At its core, however, it remains a community police program designed to address the root causes of juvenile crime. In the Parent Project® model, law enforcement officers work directly with parents to help improve adolescent children’s school attendance and performance, reduce family conflict, curb drug and alcohol use, prevent runaways, stop violent behavior and develop strong, in-home prevention and intervention strategies for youth gang involvement.

An example of the program’s success can be found in Roseville California. In just 6 months time, 15 Roseville families generated 87 calls to local law enforcement for their out-of-control teens. Six months after graduating from the Roseville Parent Project®, the same 15 families generated only 4 juvenile related calls for service.

The Parent Project® brings parents into the problem solving process, reduces juvenile crime, significantly reduces juvenile related calls for service and dramatically improves police/community relations. The bond that develops between families and the officers is one for which every law enforcement agency strives, but few achieve.

Click here to download a sample Parent Project® law enforcement policy.

Click for available training dates and locations.

Click to download the Parent Project® training brochure.

Click to download the contents and first Unit of the award winning parent workbook, “Changing Destructive Adolescent Behavior.”


Parent Project Works

“One of three exemplary community police programs in the state.”
       -California State Attorney General’s Office of Prevention

“Distinguished Program of the Year.”
       -California Youth Authority

“The largest court mandated juvenile diversion program in the country.”
       -American Bar Association’s Center on Children and the Law