New program targets parents of at-risk kids

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A new program designed to help parents of out-of-control juveniles will kick off Monday night, officials said Tuesday.

The Parent Project, a California-based program, which has 13 years of success stories, will launch at the South Central Mental Health facility.

Staff members Annah Courson and Johnny Allen were trained in June by the founders of the project, and are certified facilitators for the project.

Allen said the program is geared toward parents who have at-risk children.

“It’s designed to help parents learn to deal with defiance,” he said. “There’s a long list.”

The curriculum teaches concrete prevention, identification and intervention strategies for the most destructive of adolescent behaviors, including poor school attendance and performance, alcohol and other drug use, gangs, runaways and violent teens.

The program consists of a 10-to-16-week parent-training program through support groups and skill development.

“It provides parents with the skills to positively change their home,” Allen said. “Parents whose children have any of those behavioral problems qualify for the program. Even the minor issues.”

And they don’t have to be current mental health clients, Courson said.

Even the juvenile court system in Covington County will take advantage of the program.

District Judge Frank “Trippy” McGuire said he learned of the program through several juvenile judge seminars, in which the Parenting Project was presented as a successful program.

“It has a proven track record,” he said. “They were encouraging each judge to get the program up and running.”

Program statistics from Roseville, Calif., show in the last four years, using the program the number of juvenile-related calls has reduced 73 percent.

Additionally, there has been increased parental support of juveniles involved, decreased family conflict, increased academic achievement, increased family time and increased youth social behavior.

McGuire said that Allen and Courson met with the Covington County Children’s Policy Council Coalition about the program earlier this year.

McGuire has already referred 12 to 15 juveniles to the program.

“We have a big need for it here,” he said. “Most of the kids who come before me, it’s because a lot of people don’t know how to be effective parents. This program teaches them to set boundaries and parameters and assert their parental authority. I’m really pleased that we have it now. ”

Allen said those interested in participating in this session must start on Monday night from 5:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.

“We hope to offer the classes on a rotating basis,” he said.

Cost is $20 for the materials and $20 per session.

To sign-up call, Courson at 488-0153 or Allen at 389-1075.