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Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
This study evaluated the effectiveness of the Adults and Children Together (ACT) Against Violence Parents Raising Safe Kids program, developed by the American Psychological Association in collaboration with the National Association for the Education of Young Children, as an economical primary prevention intervention for child maltreatment. Using an experimental design with random assignment to groups, program impact on participating parents' knowledge, behavior, and attitudes compared to those of a comparison group of parents receiving standard community-based support services was examined. As hypothesized, the ACT Parents Raising Safe Kids program achieved positive results in several areas related to effective parenting, including a reduction in the use of harsh verbal and physical discipline and an increase in nurturing behavior. Positive results were observable both at the conclusion of the ACT program and at three-month follow-up. Results further indicated a positive impact on parent expectations and social support for those parents with the greatest need in these areas. Qualitative data collected through focus groups demonstrated that parents themselves perceived numerous benefits to the ACT program, including assistance in controlling their anger, learning and implementing better parenting and discipline strategies, and recognizing when their child's behavior is developmentally appropriate. Overall, findings suggest that the ACT Parents Raising Safe Kids program is a promising primary prevention strategy that can be implemented across diverse community settings.