PALS: Peace-A Learned Solution

Type of Approach:

  • Group
  • Individual
  • Mixed

Provider Education Level:

  • Masters Degree


  • Greater than 12 weeks

Trauma Type:

  • Domestic Violence

Trauma Symptom:


  • Other Community Settings


Type of services:

Structured creative arts therapeutic program for children who have been exposed to domestic violence. PALS services include weekly individual and group therapy, case management, and afterschool or day care activities.

Program setting:

Counseling center

Length of program/number of sessions:

PALS is a six-month program with each child participating in one individual and one group therapy session per week.

Type of service provider:

Masters level certified therapists provide creative art therapies including the use of: Art, Drama, Music, Play and Dance.

Type(s) of trauma addressed:

PALS is focused on children who have witnessed domestic violence in their family including any form of violence (verbal, emotional, psychological, sexual, financial and/or physical).

Additional Information:

PALS services are provided through a partnership between the New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services and eleven domestic violence programs throughout New Jersey
Services are provided to families who are currently not experiencing abuse.
Transportation is provided for all activities.

Unique/Innovative Characteristics

Since 1998, PALS has combined creative arts therapies with intense staff involvement to serve children exposed to domestic violence.
PALS is a sustainable example of an innovative partnership between a child welfare agency, a domestic violence shelter, and mental health professionals.

Date Added/Updated:



  • 0-5 (Early Childhood)
  • 6-12 (Childhood)


  • English
  • Spanish

Ethnic Racial Group:

  • American Indian, Alaska Native, Other Indigenous
  • Asian
  • Black or African American
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Immigrant or Refugee
  • Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander
  • White

Caregivers Included:

  • Mother

Population Adaptations:

Age range of children:

3-12 years of age

Parent/adult caregiver included in intervention:

Non-offending parents are required to participate in an eight week series of domestic abuse education classes before their children will be admitted to PALS. Parents must complete a Child Behavioral Checklist and Parenting Stress Index both prior to and after the six-month program. During the six- month PALS program, the parent who lives with the child must commit to meeting with the PALS case manager once every two weeks.

Ethnic/racial and other groups served:


Languages available:

English, Some counseling offered in Spanish


Theoretical basis:

PALS is based upon the hypothesis that both violence and peaceful solutions are learned by children through experience. Just as children may learn to utilize violence through exposure to domestic abuse in the home, they can be taught to prefer and employ peaceful, problem solving solutions through the experience of an intensive therapeutic process.

Evaluation Studies:

An evaluation study of PALS was conducted by Dr. Linda Jeffrey at Rowan University using a pre- and post-test design with a comparison group. Children exposed to domestic violence who received six months of intensive treatment including weekly and individual therapy through PALS were compared to children who participated in a 10-week psychoeducation group but did not receive the intensive treatment. At the end of the six-month intervention, children in the PALS intervention group demonstrated substantial improvement in emotional and behavioral functioning after the intervention compared to children who did not receive the intensive treatment. These findings are pending publication.

Rated/Reviewed by Evidence Based Registries:

This intervention was not rated by the registries/databases we reviewed.

Training Contact:

Karen Hoisington; e-mail:

Training Notes:

Training Manual:


Availability of training:


Languages other than English:


Program Contact