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15-02-2016 | Original Paper | Uitgave 7/2016

Journal of Child and Family Studies 7/2016

Assessing the Helpfulness of One Parenting Assistance Helpline

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 7/2016
Teresa L. Young, Javonda Williams, Debra Nelson-Gardell, Sally L. Edwards, Valerie A. Thorington


This study examined the services provided by one statewide warmline established to assist parents and caregivers of children from birth through adolescence. Warmlines offer telephone-based, non-crisis support for individuals experiencing diverse issues that include parenting questions and concerns. The University of Alabama Child Development Resources collaborated with the Alabama State Department of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention to institute the Parenting Assistance Line to provide information and support to parents and caregivers of children, age birth through adolescence. Overall, the staff of the Parenting Assistance Line responded to 9487 calls during the 6 years of data reported here. Through a secondary data analysis of calls to the Parenting Assistance Line from June 2007 to July 2013, this study describes the concerns of callers in relation to the ages of the children about whom they are calling and also evaluates the perceptions of the helpfulness of the information and support provided by the warmline. We found that frequently calls involved parent support and parental stress for parents and caregivers of children from infancy through adolescence. The findings suggest that telephone assistance lines offer a viable choice for parents and caregivers seeking affordable and accessible resources when stressed by the responsibilities of caring for children and adolescents and/or seeking information related to parenting issues. The study identified the limitations of research involving secondary data collected for purposes other than research that program administrators and evaluators should consider when planning and implementing services of this nature.

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