Parenting interventions aim to reduce parenting risk factors, such as harsh or erratic discipline, poor supervision and conflict at home, and strengthen protective factors such as positive and consistent discipline, constructive supervision and supportive parent–child relationships. The presence or absence of these factors is strongly associated with offending and anti-social behaviour by children and young people. Parenting interventions can give parents the skills to parent authoritatively, lovingly and effectively and are vital to addressing youth crime.

The YJB’s evaluation of 42 pilot parenting programmes, Positive Parenting, showed that parents/carers attending the programmes improved their communication skills, monitoring and supervision, ability to handle conflict and relationships, and generally felt more confident as parents. The report also concluded that there was a place for compulsory Parenting Orders.

See also:

Key Elements of Effective Practice - Parenting

Key Elements of Effective Practice - Parenting provides guidance for the development of quality in services to parents. It sets out the need for YOTs to provide programmes based on clear theoretical principles and evidence of effective practice.

Parenting good practice film

The Youth Justice Policy Unit and the YJB have developed a Working with parents & families DVD which shows examples of good practice and is a useful resource for youth offending teams (YOTs). A copy was sent out to YOTs in November 2010. It details the importance of strong parenting support using the a three step approach (voluntary, contract and order) as well as giving advice on the practical use and benefits of the Parenting Order. The film is available on our YouTube channel and these short accompanying notes should also be read.

Parenting Professional Development Resource

The Youth Justice Interactive Learning Space (YJILS) is a collaboration between the YJB and the Open University. The site contains many useful interactive learning modules for youth justice practitioners. A module has been designed to look specifically at working with parents and families and should be accessed by any practitioner who works with, or intends to work with, parents.


YOTs have substantially increased their parenting provision in recent years. This has enabled them to surpass the YJB 'Parenting prevention' target. This target was set to ensure that 20% of the young people on prevention programmes receive a parenting intervention and in 2007/8 they achieved almost 40%. Parenting interventions for young people on more serious orders increased from 13.5% in 2006/7 to 17.4% 2007/8.

We are keen to see the growth of parenting interventions continue, both in terms of interventions attached to community disposals and those delivered as part of prevention programmes.

Workforce Development – Children's Workforce Development Council (CWDC)

On 1 April 2010, CWDC assumed the responsibilities of the National Association of Parenting Practitioners (NAPP), which was set up by the government in 2007 to ensure that the standard and capacity of the emerging ‘parenting’ workforce was adequate to meet the aims of improving outcomes for children and young people and reducing anti-social behaviour. They are currently developing training programmes for parenting workers in the criminal justice system, including YOTs. Visit the Children's Workforce Development Council website for further information.

Young parents

The YJB is aware that while limited data is available on the number of young people who offend who are parents, the numbers are significant (perhaps between 25 and 40% according to figures for young people in custody). This is therefore a very important issue for the youth justice system. While YOT parenting strategies will focus on the parents of young offenders, young parents should not be forgotten.

The YJB will be publishing guidance on linking support to young people with support to their families (including their children) in the community later this year.

Children of offenders

160,000 children and young people per year have parents sent to custody. This is an alarming statistic about children and families. This number is 2.5 times the number of children in care and six times the number of children on the child protection register, and over the next five years it is set to rise to 200,000 a year. These children and young people face a risk of mental health problems three times higher than the rest of the population, and also experience high levels of social disadvantage.

There is currently no statutory support for either children or adults affected by imprisonment, no official agency catering for the needs of prisoners' families and children, nor is there any reliable information routinely collected about children with a parent in prison.

The Government and Ministry of Justice carried out a review of young people who have parents in custody. 

Youth Justice Board


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