ACT Raising Safe Kids

Scientific Rating:
3
Promising Research Evidence
See scale of 1-5
Child Welfare System Relevance Level:
Medium
See descriptions of 3 levels

About This Program

The information in this program outline is provided by the program representative and edited by the CEBC staff. ACT Raising Safe Kids has been rated by the CEBC in the area of: Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (Primary) Programs.

Target Population: Parents and caregivers (e.g., grandparents and other relatives raising young children, foster parents, and adoptive parents) of children birth to 10 years old, as well as pregnant mothers and their spouses or partners

For parents/caregivers of children ages: 0 – 10

Brief Description

ACT Raising Safe Kids Program is a universal parenting program designed to promote positive parenting and prevent child maltreatment by fostering knowledge and skills that change or improve parenting practices. The program is delivered by trained and certified ACT Facilitators in 9 sessions of 2-hour each on average. The ACT program has a universal public health approach and aims to reach to all parents of young children in a given community. The ACT program addresses parents’ use of effective, nonviolent discipline and nurturing behaviors. It addresses parental knowledge of child development, discipline methods, and media literacy. It also addresses parents’ anger management, social problem solving skills and their ability to teach/model these skills to children. By promoting effective parenting practices, the program also addresses children’s aggression and behavior problems. ACT also provides a supportive community of parents who help and support each other during and after the program: it builds community.

Program Goals:

The primary goals of the ACT Raising Safe Kids Program are:

  • Educate parents and caregivers of young children to create safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments that prevent child maltreatment; protect children and youth from long-term consequences of maltreatment
  • Provide research-based knowledge, tools, and skills for effective parenting practices
  • Provide a supportive, nonjudgmental, interactive, and fun environment for learning and sharing to occur; to nurture and promote the development of social support networks among participants
  • Educate parents and caregivers on how to act as supportive teachers, advocates, and protectors of their children

The primary objectives for parents/caregivers are:

  • Use child development knowledge (i.e., what we can expect a child to do/feel/understand at different ages and stages?) to guide their parenting practices
  • Build and maintain safe, nurturing nonviolent environment for their children
  • Identify the different emotions for different situations and use positive strategies to recognize and control their own and their children’s anger
  • Control and monitor their children’s exposure to electronic media
  • Shift their approach to discipline: teach, model, and reinforce positive child desired behaviors
  • Identify the negative consequences of using physical punishment when their children misbehave
  • Identify and use positive nonviolent discipline options to teach desirable behaviors
  • List concrete ways (actions) to become their children’s advocates and protectors in the community

Essential Components

The essential components of the ACT Raising Safe Kids Program include:

  • Parents and caregivers of children birth to 10 years, as well as pregnant mothers and their spouses and partners from all backgrounds, participate in the program.
  • The recommended group size is roughly 10-12 parents or caregivers, but flexibility is allowed to enable facilitators to adapt to community needs.
  • The program sessions are implemented in a variety of community-based settings that serve families, such as child-care centers, Head Start centers, schools, community centers, hospitals, and places of worship, shelters, as well as in prisons and as part of teen pregnancy programs in high schools.
  • Cultural competence is a primary objective in the training of facilitators and coordinators. It is expected that professionals trained in the program will identify, understand, and appreciate cultural differences and support contributions from participants from diverse cultural backgrounds.
  • Cultural competence also guides thoughtful curriculum adaptation.
  • Motivational Interviewing (MI) approach and techniques are used to help parents’ decision to change their parenting practices and to promote positive behavioral changes. MI is reviewed during the facilitator’s initial training and at follow-up webinars, and is embedded into the curriculum.
  • ACT Raising Safe Kids Program group sessions are organized to disseminate the curriculum that includes:
    • Understanding children’s behaviors
    • Impact of exposure to violence on children
    • Understanding and controlling parents’ anger
    • Understanding and helping angry children
    • Impact of exposure to electronic media on children
    • Discipline and parenting styles
    • Discipline for positive behaviors
    • Parents as teachers, advocates, and protectors of their children
  • ACT sessions are developed based on established methods of engaging and teaching adult learners and involve:
    • Role-play
    • Group discussion
    • Engagement of participants as experts and knowledgeable individuals
    • Brain-storming
  • In ACT sessions, there is minimal lecture and maximized opportunities for active participation by parents. Some activities involve use of Play-Doh, pipe cleaners, collage, preparation of posters, etc.
  • The importance of parent/caregiver practice of skills and modeling of positive, nonviolent, prosocial behavior for children is embedded throughout the program.
  • Participants are given homework each week that is designed to support understanding of program concepts and content, engage participants in practice of skills at home, and reinforce adherence to program goals.
  • Parents in the program are regularly provided with written materials (designed for 5th grade literacy level and to be user friendly) to support and remind them about what is learned in the sessions through the ACT Parents’ Handbook. All materials are translated into several languages.

Parent/Caregiver Services

ACT Raising Safe Kids directly provides services to parents/caregivers and addresses the following:

  • Parents or caregivers of children birth to 10-years old
Services Involve Family/Support Structures:

This program involves the family or other support systems in the individual's treatment: The program is for parents and is offered within the context of existing programs and services provided by a variety of community agencies and organizations (Head start centers, community health centers, schools, clinics, prisons, shelters, places of worship, social service agencies, etc.) that have other initiatives for families. ACT is designed to be easily embedded into existing systems of care/support for families provided by a variety of organizations.There is an optional program for accompanying children being cared for during the program sessions for parents. The Children Activities Manual is organized in sessions and each provides children with games, activities, and practices in non-violent problem-solving, anger management, and kindness that mirror the curriculum for their parents.

Delivery Settings

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Community Agency
  • Hospital
  • Outpatient Clinic
  • School

Homework

ACT Raising Safe Kids includes a homework component:

The program curriculum is delivered in 9 sessions/classes, each class has assigned homework that is designed to advance understanding of the program content, reinforce learning, and encourage practice of skills. In addition, homework can stress commitment to attend the next class/session. The homework sheets are listed in the ACT program manual and are provided to ACT Facilitators on a CD.

Languages

ACT Raising Safe Kids has materials available in languages other than English:

Greek, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Spanish

For information on which materials are available in these languages, please check on the program's website or contact the program representative (contact information is listed at the bottom of this page).

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

One or two trained ACT Facilitators, a room appropriate for teaching and small group work, flipchart, and snacks or food for participants. A computer or laptop and projector are encouraged but not necessary. Host centers may provide childcare for children in a separate room, if needed to make it possible for parents to participate in the program. If possible, facilitators should provide incentives for participants such as gift certificates, food baskets, toys and children’s books.

Minimum Provider Qualifications

The minimum educational requirement to be an ACT Facilitator and conduct the program for parents is an associate degree, but a bachelor’s degree is preferred. It is also expected that professionals joining the program must be working at or with an organization that typically serves families, and must have professional experience working with families and young children and/or conducting/teaching groups of adults. It is also expected that to join the program, professionals need to show support from their organizations for the work ahead.

Education and Training Resources

There is a manual that describes how to implement this program, and there is training available for this program.

Training Contacts:
  • Donna Dickman, Director, ACT Great Lakes Regional Center
    dept.: Partnership for Violence-Free Families

    Lima, OH
  • Howard Baker, PhD, Director, ACT Northeast Regional Center
    Lemberg's Children's Center, Brandeis University

    Waltham, MA
  • Milton Fuentes, PsyD, Director, ACT Mid-Atlantic Regional Center, Department Chair
    The School of Professional Psychology/DC Campus

    Washington,, DC
  • Pat Seghers, PhD, Director, ACT Mid-West Regional Center
    Pillars Community

    Chicago, IL
  • Trish Ramsay, MA, Director, ACT Southeast Regional Center
    The Miami University
    dept.: The Melissa Institute on Violence Prevention and Treatment

    Miami, FL
Training is obtained:

There are five ACT Regional Centers in different parts of the country that organize and conduct the 2-day training workshops to prepare professionals to conduct the program for parents and caregivers. The institutions are:

ACT Northeast Regional Center at Lemberg’s Children Center at Brandeis University (MA, NY, NJ, CT);

ACT Great Lakes Regional Center at University of Toledo College of Medicine (OH, KY, PA, MI);

ACT Midwest Regional Center at Pillars, Chicago (IL, IN, WI, MN);

ACT Southeast Regional Center at The Melissa Institute for Violence Prevention and Treatment, University of Miami (FL, PR, TN, MS)

ACT Mid-Atlantic Regional Center at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology/DC Campus (DC, MD, VA, WV)

Each regional center organizes at their headquarters the 2-day regional workshops for professionals coming from their respective regions. At the workshops professionals are trained to become ACT Facilitators. Training of ACT Facilitators can also be conducted by an ACT Coordinator at a city/town level, making it more convenient for professionals to attend and respond to local demands as well. Training of ACT Coordinators is completed with an 3-hour online national training conducted by the APA Violence Prevention Office and the regional center directors.

Number of days/hours:

Training and certification of ACT Program Facilitators is completed through a 2-day, 16-hour workshop for professionals. The program certification process requires that after the initial training they implement the program for one group of parents and/or caregivers and submit recordings and documentation (completed ACT Checklist Form) regarding the implementation of the program to the respective ACT Regional Center director, to be certified. Training and certification of ACT Coordinators to prepare them to conduct the ACT Facilitators 2-day workshops include participation in the initial 2-day training, certification as an ACT Facilitator, participation in the 3-hour online training conducted by the national program director and/or the regional center directors, and facilitation or co-facilitation of one workshop to train Facilitators. ACT Coordinators are also certified by the respective regional center.

Implementation Information

Since ACT Raising Safe Kids is rated on the Scientific Rating Scale, information was requested from the program representative on available pre-implementation assessments, implementation tools, and/or fidelity measures.

Show implementation information...

Pre-Implementation Materials

There are pre-implementation materials to measure organizational or provider readiness for ACT Raising Safe Kids as listed below:

The ACT program national office and the ACT Regional Directors conduct a rigorous application process to select attendees for the initial training of ACT Facilitators. Applicants are requested to show in a questionnaire that they have the necessary background, which includes:

  • Educational background including at minimum an Associate’s Degree
  • Experience working professionally with children and families, conducting/teaching groups for adults, and with program implementation (several questions address these issues)

In addition, applicants need to show evidence of organizational support to implement ACT through a letter of support from the organization; and a resume must be submitted to show qualifications and experience.

Those selected to attend the training, receive the document ACT Program Training and Certification Processes that describes the rigorous processes of training and certification.

The ACT Manual, distributed at the initial 2-day training, includes a chapter entitled, ACT Facilitator Guide that provides guidance and suggestions on how to implement the program successfully as well as information about evidence-supported methods of educating adult learners. In addition, ACT Facilitators also receive the ACT Marketing Toolkit to help them and their organizations promote the program in their communities and recruit parents for the program groups. ACT Coordinators (those who can also conduct the 2-day training for professions) also receive the toolkit to help recruit professionals for their trainings.

Contact Julia da Silva at jsilva@apa.org for the application questionnaire, the ACT Manual, and ACT Toolkit.

Formal Support for Implementation

There is formal support available for implementation of ACT Raising Safe Kids as listed below:

Oversight of implementation is provided by the APA Violence Prevention Office director in collaboration with the directors of the five ACT Regional Centers through regular emails, the ACT listserv, conference calls, Skype, and the 2-day annual ACT Leadership Seminar at the American Psychological Association in Washington, DC. In addition, each regional center has a process to provide oversight, help with implementation and problem solving, and technical support to the program sites in their areas, by way of regular emails, phone calls, meetings, and an annual meeting (reunion) in a rotating, convenient location.

When funding is available, the APA Violence Prevention Office provides financial support to help the ACT Regional Centers award mini-grants to local organizations implementing the program. Revenue from sale of program materials is also used to award scholarships to ACT Coordinators to attend the annual 2-day ACT Leadership Seminar at the American Psychological Association headquarters in Washington, DC.

The APA Violence Prevention Office also functions as a catalyst and focal point, creating a great sense of community and collaboration among all involved with the program. As a result, there is a high level of collaboration and networking among regional center directors, ACT Coordinators, and ACT Facilitators from all over the country and many parts of the world. The annual seminar, the ACT listserv, and regular emails reduce distances and create a community of partners.

Fidelity Measures

There are fidelity measures for ACT Raising Safe Kids as listed below:

Fidelity of implementation of the ACT Raising Safe Kids Program is a major goal of the APA Violence Prevention Office. Fidelity is addressed in detail at the 2-day initial ACT Facilitator workshop, at the ACT Coordinator online training, and at the annual ACT Leadership Seminar. Fidelity and adaptation are also discussed at regular emails exchanges between the APA national office, regional center directors, and ACT Coordinators.

As a measure, the ACT Facilitator Manual includes the ACT Checklist Form that ACT Facilitators conducting the program for parents need to complete for each group and email to the respective ACT Regional Center director that follows up.

Since the program is implemented in diverse communities, cultures, and languages, a certain level of adaptation is needed. The program national office at APA has articulated messages and language defining acceptable levels of adaptation, necessary due to cultural diversity.

Implementation Guides or Manuals

There are implementation guides or manuals for ACT Raising Safe Kids as listed below:

Implementation guidance is embedded into the ACT Facilitator Manual.

Research on How to Implement the Program

Research has been conducted on how to implement ACT Raising Safe Kids as listed below:

  • Knox, M., Burkhart, K., & Cromly, A. (2013). Supporting positive parenting in community health centers: The ACT Raising Safe Kids Program. Journal of Community Psychology, 41(4), 395-407.
  • Weymouth, L.A., & Howe, T.R. (2011). A multi-site evaluation of Parents Raising Safe Kids Violence Prevention Program. Children and Youth Services Review, 33, 1960-1967.

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

This program is rated a "3 - Promising Research Evidence" on the Scientific Rating Scale based on the published, peer-reviewed research available. The practice must have at least one study utilizing some form of control (e.g., untreated group, placebo group, matched wait list study) establishing the practice's benefit over the placebo, or found it to be comparable to or better than an appropriate comparison practice. Please see the Scientific Rating Scale for more information.

Child Welfare Outcomes: Safety and Child/Family Well-Being

Show relevant research...

Guttman, M., Mowder, B. A., & Yasik, A. E. (2006). The ACT Against Violence training program: A preliminary investigation of knowledge gained by early childhood professionals. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 37, 717-723.

Type of Study: Pretest-posttest with a control group
Number of Participants: 277

Population:

  • Age — 20-60 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — 64% Caucasian, 19.9% Hispanic, 7.5% African American, 4.6% Asian, and 4.4% Multiethnic
  • Gender — 82.4% Female and 17.6% Male
  • Status — Participants were early childhood professionals working in preschool settings, elementary schools, and mental health settings in the New York area and doctoral-level students in combined school/clinical child psychology programs were recruited for this project.

Location/Institution: New York

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study examined the utility of the Against Violence Parents Training (ACT) program [now called the ACT Raising Safe Kids Program] in disseminating knowledge to early childhood professionals. Participants were obtained from ACT training workshops, while the comparison group was obtained through graduate training programs and did not receive the ACT training until completion of the study. Measures were developed by the project. Results indicate that the program is effective in terms of both participants’ increase in knowledge and perception of knowledge regarding violence in childhood. Limitations include the nonrandomization of participants the predominately female participants which limits the generalizability of findings, and the use of a single data point.

Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

Miguel, J. J., & Howe, T. R. (2006). Implementing and evaluating a national early violence prevention program at the local level: Lessons from ACT (Adults and Children Together) against violence. Journal of Early Childhood and Infant Psychology, 2, 17-37.

Type of Study: One group pretest-posttest study
Number of Participants: 51

Population:

  • Age — 18-65 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — 68.6% White, 7.8% American Indian or Alaska Native, 2% Asian, 2% Hispanic/Latino, and 11.8% mixed or other
  • Gender — 95% Female and 5% Male
  • Status — Participants were social service providers, students, mental health professionals, preschool teachers or staff, elementary school teachers or staff, government representatives or officials, and university faculty or staff; subjects were obtained from ACT nationally prepared trainers, through community networking, phone calls, and distributed letters and flyers.

Location/Institution: Humboldt County, California

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study examined the utility of the Against Violence Parents Training (ACT) program [now called the ACT Raising Safe Kids Program] in disseminating knowledge to early childhood professionals. Measures utilized include the Self-Assessment Form, the ACT Evaluation Scenarios, the Post Workshop Evaluation Form, and the Battelle Interview. Results indicate that participants perceived their skills and knowledge in the area of violence prevention to have increased after participating in the ACT training. Participants also showed increased objectivity measured knowledge in the area of child development and non-violent problem solving after attending the ACT training. Limitations include concerns about generalizability due to the primarily female sample and high attrition rates, with only 17 of the 51 participants completing the follow-up.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 3 months.

Porter, B., & Howe, T. (2008). Pilot evaluation of the “ACT Parents Raising Safe Kids” violence prevention program. Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma, 1(3), 193-206.

Type of Study: Pretest-posttest with a control group
Number of Participants: 18

Population:

  • Age — 20-59 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — 72% White, 11.1 % Hispanic, 11.1% Multiethnic, and 5.8% Native American
  • Gender — 61% Female
  • Status — Participants were parents recruited through Child Welfare and a parenting center.

Location/Institution: Not Specified

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
Parents who completed the ACT Parents Raising Safe Kids (ACT-PRSK) program [now called the ACT Raising Safe Kids Program] were compared to those who were recruited into the program but did not complete it. Measures included the ACT evaluation survey, Humboldt State University Parenting Survey, and Behavior Assessment System for Children (BASC-2). Results demonstrate improvements for the completers across all four modules of the ACT program: anger management, social problem solving, nonaggressive discipline, and media violence literacy. All parents who completed the ACT program reported complete cessation of physical punishment. Limitations include the small sample size, attrition, predominantly White sample, and the lack of untested measures.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 3 months.

Knox, M. S., Burkhart, K., & Hunter, K. E. (2010). ACT Against Violence Parents Raising Safe Kids Program: Effects on maltreatment-related parenting behaviors and beliefs. Journal of Family Issues, 32(1), 55-74.

Type of Study: Pretest-posttest with a control group
Number of Participants: 92

Population:

  • Age — Mean=32.93 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — 58.7% White/Caucasian, 23.9% African American, 10.9% Latino/Latina, 1.1% Asian, and 5.4% biracial
  • Gender — 85% Female
  • Status — Participants were parents and children recruited from a mental health agency for children, an urban community center, and a court of common pleas.

Location/Institution: Not specified

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
The ACT Against Violence Parents Raising Safe Kids program (ACT-PRSK) [now called the ACT Raising Safe Kids Program] was evaluated to determine the program’s effects on parenting behaviors. The first 50 participants were assigned to the intervention group and completed the ACT program, and the remaining 42 parents/caregivers served as comparisons. Measures utilized include the ACT Against Violence Parents Raising Safe Kids Scale. Results indicated reduced spanking and reduced rate of hitting children with objects for the ACT participants. Furthermore, the ACT group showed improved knowledge, behaviors, and beliefs regarding violence prevention and parenting. Limitations include nonrandomization of participants, sole use of a project-designed measure, and attrition.

Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

Knox, M., Burkhart, K., & Howe, T. (2011). Effects of the ACT Raising Safe Kids parenting program on children’s externalizing problems. Family Relations, 60, 491-503.

Type of Study: Pretest-posttest with a control group
Number of Participants: 87

Population:

  • Age — Caregivers: Mean=31.16 years, Children: 10 years of age or younger
  • Race/Ethnicity — Caregivers: 59.8% White, 21.8% African American, 11.5% Latino/Latina, 1.1% Asian, and 5.7% biracial
  • Gender — Caregivers: 80% mothers (64 biological mothers, 3 adoptive mothers, 1 foster mother, and 1 stepmother), 15% fathers (10 biological fathers, 2 adoptive fathers, and 1 stepfather), 4% grandparents (2 grandmothers and 1 grandfather), and 1% aunts (1 aunt)
  • Status — Participants were parents and caregivers involved in services at a community center, a mental health agency, and a court of common pleas.

Location/Institution: Midwestern metropolitan area

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
Note: This study uses the same sample as Knox, M. S., Burkhart, K., & Hunter, K. E. (2010) above. The present study examined the effects of the ACT Parents Raising Safe Kids (ACT-PRSK) program [now called the ACT Raising Safe Kids Program] on children’s behavior. Participants were sequentially assigned, first to the intervention group and then to the comparison groups. Measures include the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). Results showed that the behavior of children of ACT Raising Safe Kids parents improved significantly more than the comparison group from pretest to posttest on the Conduct Problems subscale of the SDQ. Results from the CBCL indicated that both ACT and comparison children improved significantly over time. Limitations include nonrandomization of participants, attrition, and reliance on self-reported measures.

Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

Portwood, S. G., Lambert, R. G., Abrams, L. P., & Nelson, E. B. (2011). An evaluation of the Adults and Children Together (ACT) Against Violence Parents Raising Safe Kids Program. Journal of Primary Prevention, 32, 147-160.

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 271

Population:

  • Age — Mean=33.3 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — 65% Hispanic, 18.6% White, and 12.5% Black
  • Gender — 89.5% Female
  • Status — Participants were parents involved with a social service agency and parents enrolled in parent programs.

Location/Institution: Chicago, Illinois, Newport News, Virginia, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study evaluated the effectiveness of the Adults and Children Together (ACT) Against Violence Parents Raising Safe Kids program [now called the ACT Raising Safe Kids Program]. Participants were randomly assigned to either the intervention or comparison condition on an individual basis; there was no assignment by group or site. Measures include the Parent Behavior Checklist, the Conflict Scale of the Family Environment Scale, the Perceived Social Support from Family and Friends Scales, and the Parenting Stress Index–Short Form. Results indicate that parents participating in ACT reported statistically significant declines in the use of harsh verbal and physical discipline compared to parents in the waitlist control condition. Positive results were observable both at the conclusion of the program and at three-month follow-up. However, further analyses demonstrated that these positive effects may have been limited to those parents who completed no fewer than seven of the eight program sessions. Limitations include limited generalizability due to ethnicity and attrition.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 3 months.

Weymouth, L. A., & Howe, T. R. (2011). A multi-site evaluation of Parents Raising Safe Kids Violence Prevention Program. Children and Youth Services Review, 33, 1960-1967.

Type of Study: Multisite pretest-posttest study
Number of Participants: 616

Population:

  • Age — 15-65 years; Median=31 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — 55% White, 23% African American, 22% Latino/a, and 9% mixed ethnicity
  • Gender — 64% Female
  • Status — Participants were recruited from community centers, prisons, churches, high schools, job training sites, and childcare/Head Start centers.

Location/Institution: Nine sites in eight cities

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study examined the Parents Raising Safe Kids Program (PRSK) [now called the ACT Raising Safe Kids Program]. Participants were assessed before and rafter services. The measure was the PRSK Evaluation Survey. Results indicate that ACT was successful at improving media violence literacy, positive parenting behavior, child development knowledge, anger management, and prosocial problem solving. Additionally, ACT was especially efficacious for Spanish speaking participants, who improved more than English speakers. Limitations include the 45% attrition rate to posttest, reliance on self-reported measures, and the lack of follow-up.

Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

Burkhart, K. M., Knox, M., & Brockmyer, J. (2013). Pilot evaluation of the ACT Raising Safe Kids Program on children’s bullying behavior. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 22(7), 942-951.

Type of Study: Pretest-posttest with a control group
Number of Participants: 72 (only 52 completed the study)

Population:

  • Age — Caregivers: Mean=34 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — Caregivers: 55.8 % White/Caucasian, 26.9 % African American, 9.6 % Latino/Latina, and 7.7 % biracial
  • Gender — Caregivers: 64% female (45 biological mothers, 2 adoptive mothers, 1 foster mother, and 1 stepmother, and 1 grandmother), 9% male (4 biological fathers, 1 adoptive father, and 1 stepfather
  • Status — Participants were caregivers who were recruited from a mental health agency for children, an urban community center, and a Court of Common Pleas.

Location/Institution: Not stated

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
Note: This study uses the same sample as Knox, M. S., Burkhart, K., & Hunter, K. E. (2010) above. The present study examines the relationship among parent characteristics (hostility, depression, and overall parenting skills) and child bullying and the effects of the ACT Parents Raising Safe Kids (ACT-PRSK) program [now called the ACT Raising Safe Kids Program] on reducing early childhood bullying. Caregivers were assigned sequentially, first to the ACT group and then to treatment as usual (TAU). Measures utilized include the Brief Symptom Inventory, the ACT Parents Raising Safe Kids Scale, and Early Childhood Bullying Questionnaire. Results indicate decreased bullying in children whose parents completed the ACT program. Furthermore, of the parent characteristics assessed, parental hostility is the only significant parent predictor for child bullying. Limitations include nonrandomization of subjects, small sample size, attrition, and reliance on self-reported measures.

Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

Knox, M., Burkhart, K., & Cromly, A. (2013). Supporting positive parenting in community health centers: The ACT Raising Safe Kids Program. Journal of Community Psychology, 41(4), 395-407.

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 84

Population:

  • Age — Mean=30.14 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — 16% White/Caucasian, 32% African American, 43% Latino/Latina, 1% American Indian, 2% biracial, and 6% unknown (five parents/caregivers did not report their ethnicity)
  • Gender — 94% Female
  • Status — Participants were parents of children at community health centers.

Location/Institution: Midwestern and Eastern United States

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
The present study involves an evaluation of the effect of the ACT Raising Safe Kids Program on parenting outcomes for families served by Community Health Centers. Parents/caregivers were randomized to ACT or a control group. Measures include the Parent Behavior Checklist (PBC), the Parent-Child Conflict Tactics Scale (CTSPC), the ACT Parenting Behaviors Questionnaire, and the Aggressive Behavior subscale of the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). Results indicate that ACT completers showed improved nurturing and positive parenting behaviors and lower rates of psychologically and physically aggressive behavior toward children. These improvements occurred independent of the children’s ages and prior levels of aggressive behavior. Results indicated that neither the treatment nor the control group demonstrated improvements in improving nonviolent discipline behavior. Limitations include attrition, use of a study-developed measure, and reliability on self-reported measures.

Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

Knox, M., & Burkhart, K. (2014). A multi-site study of the ACT Raising Safe Kids Program: Predictors of outcomes and attrition. Children and Youth Services Review, 39, 20-24.

Type of Study: One group pretest-posttest study
Number of Participants: 60

Population:

  • Age — Caregivers: 21-68 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — 54% White/Caucasian, 22% African American, 10% Latino/Latina, 4% American Indian, and 10% other
  • Gender — Caregivers: 64% Mothers, 22% Fathers, 12% Grandmothers, 1% Aunt, and 1% other
  • Status — Participants were parents/caregivers who had a child enrolled in the school or had received/were receiving services for themselves or a member of their family at the participating agencies.

Location/Institution: 3 states in the Midwest U.S.

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
The present study examined the factors related to attrition and treatment outcomes in the ACT Raising Safe Kids Program. Parents were voluntarily enrolled in the ACT group and those that completed the program were compared to those who did not. Measures include the Parent Behavior Checklist, the Parent–Child Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS-PC), the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL-Ext), and the Conduct Problems subscale of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ-CP). Program completers were significantly older than noncompleters, suggesting that parent age relates to attrition from this program. Results indicated increased nurturing behavior, decreased harsh parenting, and decreased negative discipline, as well as decreased child behavior problems following completion of the ACT program. Parent age predicted children's outcomes, indicating better results for the children of older parents/caregivers. In addition, pretest harsh parenting scores predicted children's outcomes, suggesting that families with relatively higher initial levels of parental psychological aggression and corporal punishment had more robust child outcomes following completion of the program. Limitations include lack of a control group and lack of information on reasons why people did not complete the program.

Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

References

Silva, J. (2007). Parents Raising Safe Kids: ACT 8-week program for parents. Washington, D.C. American Psychological Association.

Battelle Centers for Public Health Research and Evaluation (2004, September). Final summary report for evaluation of the ACT Against Violence training program to the American Psychological Association and The National Association for the Education of Young Children. Arlington, VA.

Contact Information

Name: Julia da Silva, BS
Agency/Affiliation: American Psychological Association
Website: www.apa.org/act
Email:
Phone: (202) 336-5817

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: November 2014

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: April 2016

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: April 2015