This book chapter summerizes the Incredible Years Parent and Child Training Series: how to deliver IY parent and child core program principles and adapt the program with fidelity to meet the needs of intact families referred by child welfare as well as families where the children have been removed from the home. These evidence-based interventions have demonstrated ability to improve parent-child relationships and to build parents’ own sense of competence and self-control as well as strengthen their supportive family and community networks. While it is not uncommon for child welfare agencies to seek briefer interventions than the Incredible Years, these families are complex and in the highest risk category for re-abuse and maltreatment if not adequately trained and supported. Data in the parenting literature support the notion that parenting curricula need to be substantial to produce sustainable effects with challenging populations (Kazdin & Mazurick, 1994). Data from the IY programs have shown that the dosage of the intervention received and fidelity with which it is delivered are directly linked to changes in parenting and child behaviors (Baydar, Reid, & Webster-Stratton, 2003; Eames et al., 2009). Our standard treatment recommendation for child welfare families referred because of abuse and neglect is a minimum of 18 2-hour parent and child group sessions delivered by accredited IY group leaders who have high levels of support and consultation.
Parent participation in the full IY program is expected to accomplish the following: improve the parent-child relationship; increase parents’ sense of competence and self-control; increase the use of positive discipline strategies, predictable schedules and monitoring; and reduce the rates of harsh and physical discipline. Child participation in the full IY child program is expected to improve children’s emotional regulation, social skills and to strengthen problem-solving skills as well as attachment and trust with parents. In the long term, we expect that these improvements in parenting and parent-child relationships will lead to lower rates of re-abuse, fewer re-reports to Child Welfare Services and more academically, emotionally, and socially competent children. In order to break the intergenerational cycle of parent-child violence and neglect and child conduct problems, it is also necessary to provide enough training and support to therapists to assure program fidelity with the goal of these children getting the best parenting possible.