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01-03-2018 | Original Paper | Uitgave 6/2018 Open Access

Journal of Child and Family Studies 6/2018

The Feasibility, Appropriateness, Meaningfulness, and Effectiveness of Parenting and Family Support Programs Delivered in the Criminal Justice System: A Systematic Review

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 6/2018
Victoria Troy, Kerri E. McPherson, Carol Emslie, Elizabeth Gilchrist


Children whose parents are involved in the criminal justice system (CJS) are at increased risk of developing social, emotional, and behavioural difficulties and are more likely than their peers to become involved in the CJS themselves. Parenting behaviour and parent-child relationships have the potential to affect children’s outcomes with positive parenting practices having the potential to moderate some of the negative outcomes associated with parental involvement in the CJS. However, many parents in the CJS may lack appropriate role models to support the development of positive parenting beliefs and practices. Parenting programs offer an opportunity for parents to enhance their parenting knowledge and behaviours and improve relationships with children. Quantitative and qualitative evidence pertaining to the implementation and effectiveness of parenting programs delivered in the CJS was included. Five databases were searched and a total of 1145 articles were identified of which 29 met the review inclusion criteria. Overall, programs were found to significantly improve parenting attitudes; however, evidence of wider effects is limited. Additionally, the findings indicate that parenting programs can be meaningful for parents. Despite this, a number of challenges for implementation were found including the transient nature of the prison population and a lack of parent-child contact. Based on these findings, recommendations for the future development and delivery of programs are discussed.

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