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Resilient Families – Early Secondary School Parenting Project/Parenting Adolescents: a Creative Experience


The school-based Resilient Families prevention program is designed to develop the knowledge, skills and support networks of students and their parents in order to promote adolescent health and wellbeing.

The program consists of the following five intervention components: 1) a 10-session curriculum for students; 2) the Parenting Adolescents Quiz (PAQ) evening; 3) Parenting Adolescents: a Creative Experience (PACE); 4) policies and processes implemented by the school to build a community of parents to enhance support for, and communication with, parents during the early secondary school years; and 5) parent education handbooks.

The PACE program is an 8-week sequential parenting program that comprises one of the five components of the Resilient Families program. This program is based on an adult learning model, and follows a curriculum that covers adolescent communication, conflict resolution and adolescent development (Jenkin & Bretherton, 1994).

Evaluation Evidence

A Victorian evaluation of the program found that students in the intervention schools reported increases in family attachment and high school rewards compared to control schools (Shortt, Hutchinson, Chapman, & Toumbourou, 2007). Students whose parents attended the extended parent education group (8 week PACE group) were more than twice as likely as their peers to report positive problem solving at follow-up.

The PACE program demonstrated positive outcomes in a large quasi-experimental study in Australia. At the twelve-week follow-up parents and adolescents reported a reduction in family conflict, and adolescents reported increased maternal care, less delinquency, and less substance use (Toumbourou & Gregg, 2002).

Monitoring Recommendations

  • At the planning stage Boards can obtain information on monitoring processes, and expected participation rates and participant changes.
  • Boards should negotiate agreements to receive regular progress reports and request to monitor examples of session delivery.
  • Monitoring information should include: attendance and satisfaction with training; services delivered and number of participants; participant ratings of service quality; and parent and youth reports of changes in risk and protective factors.
  • Where feasible, evaluate pre-post changes in parent confidence, child behaviour, and targeted risk and protective factors and compare to control schools.

Conflict of Interest Note

John Toumbourou wrote this report and led the program development.


Dr Elizabeth Douglas
School of Public Health & Preventative Medicine
Monash University

(03) 9903 0168
Program details
Target Audience: 
11 - 14 years
Target Risk Factors: 
  • Poor family management
  • Poor discipline
  • Family conflict
  • Parental attitudes favourable to problem behaviour
  • Low commitment to school
  • Low family attachment
Target Protective Factors: 
  • Family attachment
  • Family opportunities for prosocial involvement
  • School and family rewards for prosocial involvement
  • Social skills
Community Indicators: 
  • Sole parents
  • Parental social isolation
  • Poor links between schools, families and family services