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Parenting Inside Out (PIO)


Delivery Approach:
  • Group and Individual
Delivery Format:
  • In-person
  • Virtual
Provider Requirements:
  • None
Type of Experience Addressed:
  • Domestic Violence
  • Child Abuse 
  • Neglect 
  • Family Separation
  • Reunification
  • Verbal/Emotional abuse
  • Mental Health Issues/Concerns
  • Historical trauma
Engagement Methods:
  • Talk-based
  • Experiential
  • Play-based
Level of Intervention:
  • Primary Prevention
  • Secondary Prevention
  • Intervention
  • Less than 6 weeks
  • Less than 12 weeks
  • Greater than 12 weeks
  • School
  • Residential 
  • Domestic Violence Shelter
  • Correctional
  • Headstart and Early Education Programs
  • Family service agencies
  • Community-based agency
Program Details:
Type of services provided:

Parenting Inside Out (PIO) is a cognitive-behavioral, parenting skills training program with curricula for justice- and system-involved (substance abuse, child welfare) parents of children who may be at risk for, or are presenting with, behavior problems. Developed through collaboration between the Oregon Social Learning Center, the Oregon Department of Corrections and Pathfinders of Oregon for parents in prison, on parole or probation. The community and jail versions have been adapted to meet the needs of parents parenting in different environments. PIO is a positive reinforcement model for parents and their children. The group sessions, taught by parenting coaches, are focused on skill-building for core parenting practices and include content on the following topics:

  • Effective communication and problem-solving
  • Recognizing and understanding the parent’s job and the child’s job in the ages and stages of child development
  • Co-parenting
  • Positive involvement and reinforcement
  • Limit setting, monitoring, nonviolent discipline
  • Supporting skills (active communication, emotion regulation, emotion coaching)
  • Healthy family dynamics
  • Building relationships with children while separated

There are four versions of the curriculum that differ in length and what activities are included: prisons (two lengths: 60 and 90 hours), community settings (for parents who are systems-involved such as CPS and DHS, parents on parole or probation) and a shorter version for jails. A PIO lesson sample can be accessed at the PIO website for each of the versions.

Program setting:

Community-based agencies, justice settings (juvenile detention, jail, prison, courts etc.)

Length of program/number of sessions:

Each group session is 2 hours in length. The length of the program varies by version of the program being used. The prison version can be 60 or 90 hours in length. The community version is 48 total hours of instruction, offered twice a week for 12 weeks and there is a shorter version for jails (24 hours).

Type(s) of trauma/concerns addressed:

This parenting program is not specifically designed to address trauma. Research by Kjellstrand and colleagues (2012) on the prevalence of adversities among incarcerated parents receiving PIO indicates a very high prevalence of physical intimate partner violence among parents (77.2% of mothers were physically hit by a partner and 61.4% of fathers were physically hit by a partner). As the program has evolved, trauma-informed language has been integrated into the curricula.

Education level of providers:

Bachelor’s degree in human development, child development, social work or a related field is recommended.

Unique/Innovative Characteristics:
  • Taught by parenting coaches who emphasize that their role is to support parents in building skills, this interactive, learner-centered parenting program meets system-involved parents where they are at in their life circumstances and parenting needs.
  • PIO is being used in 34 states, Canada and Australia. The Australia Department of Justice implemented a “Dads” version
  • PIO emphasizes brain-based design to engage adult learners.
  • Described as outcomes-based, parents demonstrate their learning through role-play and practice with their children if they have custody, or during phone calls and visits if their children are not living with them.
  • A central activity in the prison version of PIO is adoption of a bear that the parent is responsible for 24/7 to practice key parenting skills while they are not with their children.
  • Providing free childcare and hot meals at PIO group sessions (through grants and assistance from other community agencies) has helped to achieve high completion rates of PIO in Oregon.
  • In addition to positive impact on parenting skills, PIO reduces substance abuse, a co-occurring risk factor for IPV, and symptoms of depression, a consequence of IPV.

Date Added/Updated:


Population Served

  • 0-5 (Early Childhood) 
  • 6-12 (Childhood) 
  • 13-17 (Adolescent)
  • 18-25 (Young Adult)
  • 25 & Up (Adult)
Population Language:
  • English
  • Spanish
Ethnic Racial Group:
  • Asian
  • Black or African American
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Indigenous People – American Indian/Native American, Alaskan Native
  • Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander
  • White
  • Child and Non-abusive Parent/Caregiver
  • Child
  • Family
  • Grandparents
  • Parent who uses Violence
  • Survivor parent
  • Community
  • Foster/Adoptive Parents
Population Adaptations:
Age range of children served:

0-19 years old

Are parent/adult caregiver(s) included in intervention?

Yes, this is a parenting skills program.

Ethnic/racial and other groups served:


Specific cultural adaptations:

No additional information provided.

Languages that service/resource is available:

English, Spanish


Goals of the program/services:
  • Improve prosocial functioning
  • Decrease antisocial behavior
  • Learn skills to communicate positively and effectively with their children’s caregivers and other involved adults
  • Learn skills to parent effectively during incarceration and when released
  • Learn how to help their child(ren) have a healthy adjustment to parent being back in their lives
  • Learn skills to prevent childhood problem behaviors and how to increase childhood resiliency
Evaluation Studies:
Has there been any evaluation?


Other publications:

Eddy, J., Martinez, C. (2010). Effects of an intervention for incarcerated parents. Final Report to the National Institute of Mental Health, Grant Award Number MH 065553-05.

Eddy, M., Martinez C., Schiffmann, T., Newton R, Olin, L., Leve L., Foney, D., Shortt J. (2008). Development of a multisystematic parent management training intervention for incarcerated parents, their children and families. Clinical Psychologist, 12(3), 86-98.

Borja, S., Nurius, P., & Eddy, J. M. (2015). Adversity across the life course of incarcerated parents: Gender differences.  Journal of Forensic Social Work, 5(1–3), 167–185.

Kjellstrand, J. M., Cearley, J., Eddy, J. M., Foney, D., & Martinez Jr, C. R. (2012). Characteristics of incarcerated fathers and mothers: Implications for preventive interventions targeting children and families. Children and Youth Services Review, 34(12), 2409–2415.

Key evaluation results:

In a longitudinal, randomized controlled trial with 359 incarcerated parents (50% men; 41% racial and/or ethnic minority) of children ages 3 to 11 years old, participants were randomized into PIO or a services as usual control group. Assessments occurred before, during and after the intervention and then up to one year following release from prison. Data was collected from inmate parents, children, caregivers, teachers of the inmates’ children, and school, court, and department of correction records. Study findings included the following:

  • Parents in the PIO intervention group reported more family contact, were more likely to be involved in their children’s lives, were more likely to use positive reinforcement and had lower parental stress scores
  • Parents receiving PIO had significantly lower depressed mood scores post-intervention than the comparison group
  • Participants receiving PIO had significantly higher positive parent-child interactions postintervention than the comparison group
  • The greatest impact of PIO was for parents (in the intervention group) who needed the intervention most based on baseline scores
  • Participants receiving PIO were more likely to have fewer post-release substance use-related problems than those in the comparison group after controlling for prior substance abuse and gender

Eddy, J. M., Martinez, C. R., & Burraston, B. (2013). A randomized controlled trial of a parent management training program for incarcerated parents: Proximal impacts. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 78(3), 75-93.

Follow-up of the randomized controlled trial of PIO described above indicated that participants in the PIO intervention group had fewer arrests at one-year post-release compared to the control group.
Burraston, B. O., & Eddy, J. M. (2017). The moderating effect of living with a child before incarceration on post-release outcomes related to a prison-based parent management training program. Smith College Studies in Social Work, 87(1), 94-111.

Rated/Reviewed by Evidence Based Registries:

PIO is listed as a parent training program that addresses behavior problems in children and adolescents by the California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse

Versions appear on “best practice” lists of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of Victims of Crime of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Training & Resources

Training Language:
  • English
Training Available:
  • Yes
Training Details:
Training manuals/protocols:

Yes, there are curriculum manuals and supplemental parenting coach material

Availability of Training:

Yes. Length of training is 12 hours and all training is webinar-based.

Training Costs:


Languages that training/resource is available:

Training in English, curriculum materials in English and Spanish.

Training Contact:

Program Contact

Ara Aguirre
Parenting Inside Out (PIO)