Office of Justice Programs (OJP)

Parent Project

BJA Program(s): Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program
State(s): CA

Grantee Agency: See below

Grant Amount/Year(s): FY 2009/$52,416

About the Program:

The Parent Project is a national parenting program specifically designed for the parents of strong-willed or out of control youth. The Santa Clara County Parent Project program is a collaborative effort between the District Attorney's Office, the City of San Jose and the Mayor's Gang Prevention Task Force, Law Enforcement Agencies Countywide, School Districts Countywide, Community Based Organizations, and Counseling Agencies that began with one pilot class in Spring 2008. In this twelve week step-by-step program, parents learn tools to actually change specific destructive behaviors in their children - including truancy, alcohol and other drug use, gang involvement, running away, school behavior issues, violence and suicide.

The designers of Parent Project had three components in mind when developing their training model:

  • Provide parents with specific tools to connect and communicate with their child.
  • Teach parents a variety of ways to show love and affection.
  • Teach parents to be involved positively in the life of their child, and to create and value family time.

Classes are offered in English and Spanish and will soon be translated into Vietnamese. There are over 16 different classes offered countywide, with 6 in San Jose alone. In addition, Parent Project Jr. was piloted at Elementary Schools in an effort to teach parents of 5-10 year olds early prevention and intervention techniques.

Over 550 parents have graduated from the program thus far.

Program Successes/Effect on the Community:

Parent Project is a cost-effective intervention program designed to successfully help families live happier, healthier and safer lives. Parents' survey responses to the Parent Project have been extremely positive, with 95% of graduating parents giving it the highest ranking in helpfulness and 99% saying they would recommend it to another parent. In testimonials, parents have referred to the program as "a life changing experience" with almost all of them wishing they had taken the class earlier.

Parent Project has also noted a significant decrease in the reported incidence of conduct disorder and aggression in the children of parents enrolled in the program. Specifically, graduating parents reported less truancy, better school performance, less lying, and reduction in use of illegal drugs, alcohol, and tobacco, gang involvement, and violence in their teens. One parent even reported that her son had been drug-free for 45 days and attributed that behavioral change to the techniques skills that she learned from Parent Project and used with her son. San Jose Police Officers, who served as facilitators for the Parent Project, worked diligently to establish a rapport with and to gain the respect of the parents participating in the classes. The Officers' genuine care, enthusiasm and professionalism was a critical component that greatly contributed to the success of the program.

Research suggests that reductions in delinquency appear to be related to friendly interaction between teenagers and their parents. This research would seem to promote stronger family ties that can be achieved with the help of support services like Parent Project. The success of this program demonstrates that parental management techniques can help influence positive social behavior and help to deter criminal behavior.

Learn More:
To learn more about the program, please contact:
Lt. Francisco Aviles, Jr.
Program Manager
San Jose Police Department
Phone: 408-277-4272


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