U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Court-Ordered vs. Voluntary Treatment of Abusive and Neglectful Parents

NCJ Number
Child Abuse and Neglect Volume: 12 Issue: 1 Dated: (1988) Pages: 33-39
A M Iruests-Montes; F Montes
Date Published
7 pages
Treatment outcomes were compared for 18 families receiving child abuse treatment voluntarily and 24 families ordered into treatment by the court in El Paso County, Colo.
Both groups received the same treatment program, consisting of therapeutic family-style day care for children, parent group meetings, and home treatment session for the entire family. The impact of the program was noted in the quality of the affective interactions between parents and children and disciplinary methods used, among other measures. Families in voluntary and court-ordered treatment participated in the program at comparable levels. They increased significantly in their use of praise and descriptive praise in their interactions with their children and drastically reduced their use of criticism. However, they continued to respond to their children's annoying behaviors. Both groups showed low levels of physical aggression in their interactions with the children both before and after treatment, although physical aggression was more evident in the behaviors of court-ordered parents. Results indicate that court-mandated treatment can be effective and does not render abusive and neglectful parents less amenable to treatment. 3 tables and 15 references. (Author abstract modified)