An Examination of Peer-Delivered Parenting Skills Programs Across New York State

  • Mary C. Acri
  • Nancy Craig
  • Josh Adler
Original Paper


Peers are an important adjunct to the public mental health service system, and are being increasingly utilized across the country as a cost-effective solution to workforce shortages. Despite the tremendous growth of peer-delivered support over the past two decades, it has only been within the past few years that peer programs have been the subject of empirical inquiry. The purpose of this study was to examine the prevalence and characteristics of peer-delivered parenting programs across the New York State public mental health service system. We surveyed 46 family peer organizations across New York State regarding their delivery of structured peer-delivered parenting programs. Thirty-four (76%) completed the questionnaire, and of them, 18 (53%) delivered a parenting program. Subsequent interviews with seven of the 18 organizations revealed peer organizations had been delivering eight unique parenting programs for upwards of two decades. Additionally, organizations offered multiple supports to families to participate. Training, supervision, and issues around fidelity are discussed, as well as the implications of this study for states utilizing a peer workforce.


Peer-delivered family support Peer support services Behavior parent training programs 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

According to the New York University Institutional Review Board, no human subjects participated in this study, and thus, this study was exempt from review. Because human subjects did not participate in this study, informed consent was not obtained.

Informed Consent

Because human subjects did not participate in this study, informed consent was not obtained.


  1. 1-2-3 Magic. (n.d.). Retrieved May 9, 2017, from
  2. Acri, M., Frank, S., Olin, S. S., Burton, G., Ball, J. L., Weaver, J., & Hoagwood, K. E. (2013). Examining the feasibility and acceptability of a screening and outreach model developed for a peer workforce. Journal of Child & Family Studies, 24, 1–10.Google Scholar
  3. Acri, M., Gopalan, G., Chacko, A., & McKay, M. (2017). Engaging families into treatment for child behavior disorders: A synthesis of the literature. In J. Lochman & W. Mathys (Eds.), The Wiley handbook of disruptive and impulse-control disorders. New York: WileyGoogle Scholar
  4. Acri, M., Hooley, C. D., Richardson, N., & Moaba, L. B. (2017). Peer models in mental health for caregivers and families. Community Mental Health Journal, 53(2), 241–249. Scholar
  5. Barkley, R. A. (2002). Psychosocial treatments for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 63(suppl.), 36–43.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Brister, T., Cavaleri, M. A., Olin, S. S., Shen, S., Burns, B. J., & Hoagwood, K. E. (2012). An evaluation of the NAMI basics program. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 21(3), 439–442.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Burke, L. (1998). Active parenting of teens. Clinical Pediatrics, 37(1), 56–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Burke, R., & Barnes, B. (2011). Common sense parenting. Boys Town, NE: Boys Town Press.Google Scholar
  9. Cavaleri, M. A., Olin, S. S., Kim, A., Hoagwood, K. E., & Burns, B. J. (2011). Family support in prevention programs for children at risk for emotional/behavioral problems. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 14(4), 399–412.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  10. Chinman, M., Lucksted, A., Gresen, R., Davis, M., Losonczy, M., Sussner, B., & Martone, L. (2008). Early experiences of employing consumer-providers in the VA. Psychiatric Services, 59(11), 1315–1321.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Chinman, M., Young, A. S., Hassell, J., & Davidson, L. (2006). Toward the implementation of mental health consumer provider services. The Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, 33(2), 176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chinman, M. J., Rosenheck, R., Lam, J. A., & Davidson, L. (2000). Comparing consumer and nonconsumer provided case management services for homeless persons with serious mental illness. The Journal of nervous and mental disease, 188(7), 446–453.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York. New York City’s children and mental health: Prevalence and gap analysis of treatment slot capacity. Retrieved March 23, 2018, from
  14. Davidson, L., Bellamy, C., Guy, K., & Miller, R. (2012). Peer support among persons with severe mental illnesses: A review of evidence and experience. World Psychiatry, 11(2), 123–128.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  15. Family peer advocates in New York State. Retrieved March 23, 2018, from
  16. Gopalan, G., Small, L., Fuss, A., Bowman, M., Jackson, J., Marcus, S., & Chacko, A. (2015). Multiple family groups to reduce child disruptive behavior difficulties: Moderating effects of child welfare status on child outcomes. Child Abuse & Neglect, 46, 207–219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hoagwood, K. E., Cavaleri, M. A., Olin, S. S., Burns, B. J., Slaton, E., Gruttadaro, D., & Hughes, R. (2010). Family support in children’s mental health: A review and synthesis. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 13(1), 1–45.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Kaufman, L., Brooks, W., Steinley-Bumgarner, M., & Stevens-Manser, S. (2012). Peer specialist training and certification programs: A national overview. Austin, TX: University of Texas at Austin Center for Social Work Research.Google Scholar
  19. Nurturing Parenting. (n.d.). Retrieved May 1, 2017, from
  20. Nystul, M. S. (1982). The effects of systematic training for effective parenting on parental attitudes. The Journal of Psychology, 112(1), 63–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Parenting Journey. (n.d.). Retrieved May 9, 2017 from
  22. Parenting the Love and Logic Way. (n.d.). Retrieved May 9, 2017, from
  23. Pfeiffer, P. N., Heisler, M., Piette, J. D., Rogers, M. A., & Valenstein, M. (2011). Efficacy of peer support interventions for depression: A meta-analysis. General Hospital Psychiatry, 33(1), 29–36.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Pollastri, A. R., Epstein, L. D., Heath, G. H., & Ablon, J. S. (2013). The collaborative problem solving approach: Outcomes across settings. Harvard Review of Psychiatry, 21(4), 188–199.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Popkin, M. H. (1989). The Second handbook on parent education: Contemporary perspectives. Amsterdam: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  26. Small, L. A., Jackson, J., Gopalan, G., & McKay, M. M. (2015). Meeting the complex needs of urban youth and their families through the 4Rs 2Ss Family Strengthening Program: The “real world” meets evidence-informed care. Research on Social Work Practice, 25(4), 433–445.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Solomon, P. (2004). Peer support/peer provided services underlying processes, benefits, and critical ingredients. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 27(4), 392–401.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The McSilver Institute for Poverty, Policy, and ResearchNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Families Together in New York StateAlbanyUSA
  3. 3.Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human DevelopmentNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations