PARENT program : People Achieving Responsibility through Education, Nurturing and Training.

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Center for Policy Research (Denver, Colo.).
Larimer County (Colo.). Child Support Enforcement.
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The People Achieving Responsibility through Education, Nurturing, and Training (PARENT) program was implemented in Larimer County, Colorado to equip non-custodial parents to support their children emotionally and financially. Services include parenting skills education, employment assistance, case management, and referral. A grant from the federal Office of Support Enforcement was used to pay the child support obligations of compliant participants on a temporary basis. This report presents the findings of an evaluation of the PARENT program which considered attendance and characteristics of participants, parent-child contact, client satisfaction, improvements in child support fulfillment, and trends in income. Participants in PARENT were older and had higher levels of education than the clients of other fatherhood programs, improving their opportunities for employment and income. The PARENT program provided minimal employment assistance in the form of assessment and supervision over job search activities. A review of earnings and employment patterns revealed no significant changes for participants over time. Only one-quarter of clients reported an improvement in parent-child or parent-parent relationships after participation. Almost half of the participants did not complete the program. Older, well-educated, employed clients with no previous involvement with the criminal justice system were most likely to be successful. The child support subsidy had no impact on beliefs about ability to pay. The findings indicate a need for additional employment assistance activities. Programs also should consider targeting services to parents with fewer barriers to employment and child support payments. The amounts of child support orders should be reviewed to ensure that expectations are reasonable. 19 references, 29 tables.

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