Keeping Children Safe: An Exploration Of The Pathways Into Parents Anonymous, Inc. And Its Relationship To The Organization's Mission
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Type of WorkText
DepartmentPublic Health and Policy
ProgramDoctor of Public Health
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Child maltreatment continues to be a major public health problem in the United States. While it is not the subject of inquiry in this study, it does provide the context to this exploration of the pathways into a long-standing national maltreatment prevention program and its relationship to the organization's mission. The goal of Parents Anonymous® Inc. is to provide mutual support to parents and caregivers in a non-threatening environment. The research question involved the relationship between the pathways people take to become members of the group and the stated mission of the non-profit. A mixed methodology approach to discovery was used to analyze primary and secondary data to achieve results in the study. Qualitative semi-structured interviews with four ranking officials in the organization's leadership hierarchy, quantitative data analysis of a 5,110 participant sample from the Parents Anonymous® Inc. database, archival searches of sources of the mission in the organization's literature and documents and the agency's website and member organizations' websites provided a richness of data unanticipated by a singular approach. The use of mixed method provided an opportunity to analyze the subject matter variously. The subject matter of mission and pathways itself dictated a multiple pronged approach to data collection, data analysis and conclusion formulation. Results of the study revealed an inconsistent use of the mission statement and a liberal policy with respect to member organizations' display of it on their websites. Mission fidelity is an apparent outcome evidenced by the fact that any parent/caregiver are encouraged to and can participate as members of the group regardless of background, ethnicity, gender or socio-economic status. However, the organization could review its outreach strategy in relation to the member profile established as a result of this study. Parent leadership development at the local level has the potential of giving rise to local community as well as state and national leadership experience, a reality for two members of the current study. The shared leadership pillar of the mission needs to be explored further in an effort to expand the organization's marketability and resource development. It can be used both at the local and national level to the great benefit and effect of the parent organization. More research is needed on Parents Anonymous® Inc. to demonstrate its viability as a prevention strategy for child maltreatment.