Effectiveness of the Parent Connectors Program: Results from a Randomized Controlled Trial

Abstract

Parent education and support has been identified as a potential resource to help improve outcomes for youth who have emotional disturbances (ED). The current study builds on promising results from Parent Connectors (PCs) (Kutash et al. in Adm Policy Ment Health Ment Health Serv Res 38:412–427, 2011), a peer-to-peer program aimed at increasing the engagement of families in the education and treatment of their children who have ED. A total of 128 parents of students identified as having ED and enrolled in special education programs in 23 middle schools or special centers were randomly assigned to a treatment (had a PC) or comparison group. For parents who had a PC, results indicated positive program effects including increased perceived benefit of engagement, more engagement in their child’s services, and a more positive response to social norms. Students received more mental health services, were enrolled more days in school, and were suspended fewer times and for fewer days. The moderating effects of parent strain and child emotional functioning were examined, and implications for practice are discussed.

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Acknowledgments

This study was supported in part by grant number R324A090049 from the National Center for Special Education Research, Institute of Education Sciences, US Department of Education.

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Correspondence to Krista Kutash.

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Kutash, K., Duchnowski, A.J., Green, A.L. et al. Effectiveness of the Parent Connectors Program: Results from a Randomized Controlled Trial. School Mental Health 5, 192–208 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12310-013-9106-4

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Keywords

  • School-based
  • Parent engagement
  • Emotional disturbances
  • Children’s mental health