See: Juvenile Justice System

The Nurturing Parenting program is intended for families of youth of all risk levels, while minding the risk principle of effective interventions (see note below) and as an integrated part of as many programs as possible (such as Drug Court). The program is run by a community-based organization in Yolo County, with referrals from the Probation Department.

Recent assessments of minors referred to Yolo County Probation revealed that 38% were beyond parental control, 33% display significant runaway behavior and 24% are habitually truant. Nonetheless, 79% of the minors referred to detention live with a responsible adult and have a supportive family, and 68% of families display a consistent willingness to support these youth. It was very clear that the families of youth involved in the local Juvenile Justice system require support and training.

The Nurturing Parent program curriculum was developed in 1979 in a project sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health. It has been evaluated and proven to significantly increase parents' empathy and knowledge of positive discipline techniques, while significantly decreasing parent-child role reversals, inappropriate expectations, belief in corporal punishment and parental belief in the oppression of children's independence.

It is expected that practitioners will be trained by September, 2008 and the first session will be underway by October, 2008.

Families receive:

  • Twelve 3-hour multi-family sessions that meet once a week for 12 consecutive weeks.
  • Adults and youth meet separately for 70 minutes, share a snack break, and then meet together for 90 minutes.
  • Between sessions, home practice assignments are to be completed.
  • Groups will be conducted in a way that segregates high and low risk offenders.

Note: Research has identified eight major risk factors for recidivism for juveniles. The "risk principle of effective interventions" refers to evidence that "low risk" offenders made to participate in intensive intervention programs will actually get worse, but "moderate to high risk" offenders given the same programs will improve.