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Parenting with Love and Limits (PLL)


Delivery Approach:
  • Individual
  • Group
  • Individual & Group
  • Dyadic
Delivery Format:
  • In-person
Provider Requirements:
  • Licensed/Certified Professional Led
Type of Experience Addressed:
  • Child Abuse
  • Domestic Violence
  • Neglect
  • Family Separation
  • Reunification
  • Verbal/Emotional Abuse
  • Mental Health Issues/Concerns
  • Other types of experiences addressed  (see Program Details)
Engagement Methods:
  • Talk-based
  • Experiential
  • Other Engagement Methods (see Program Details)
Level of Intervention:
  • Intervention
  • Greater than 12 weeks
  • Home
  • Hospital-based
  • Community-based Setting
  • Mental Health Setting
  • Foster Care
  • Family Service Agencies
  • Residential
  • Other Settings
Program Details:
Type of services provided:

PLL combines group therapy, family therapy and family trauma treatment within one continuum of care. The PLL model teaches families to restore the parental hierarchy, reestablish healthy communication patterns and restore family attachments. The model is designed to move families progressively through the stages of readiness to change while keeping youth from penetrating deeper into systems outside of the home. PLL can be used as an alternative to residential placement for youth as well as youth returning home from residential placement such as commitment programs, halfway houses, group homes or foster homes.

Program setting:

Adoptive home, birth family home, community agency, foster/kinship care, outpatient clinic, residential care facility

Length of program/number of sessions:

Average length of service is 3 to 6 months; 6 multifamily sessions and 6-8 individual family intensive (1-2 hours) therapy sessions in an outpatient or home-based setting to practice skills learned in the group setting; number of sessions can be increased to up to 20 sessions for youth with more severe problems such as involvement with juvenile or criminal justice system.

Type(s) of trauma/concerns addressed:

Hard-to-reach parents and caregivers with youth who are at low to high risk for out-of-home placement and families with youth returning from an out-of-home placement. Domestic violence is noted as one of the symptoms addressed.

Symptoms addressed:

Children and adolescents with severe emotional and behavioral problems (including conduct disorder, oppositional defiant disorder and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder), frequently co-occurring problems such as depression, alcohol or drug use, domestic violence, destruction of property or suicidal ideation; PLL has been used with teens with less extreme behaviors.

Education level of providers:

Master’s level degree in counseling related field for clinician; Bachelors degree for co-facilitator or case manager

Additional information:


Unique/Innovative Characteristics:

Program is designed to engage hard-to-reach parents and caregivers of youth who are often already engaged in systems.

Date Added/Updated:


Population Served

  • 6-12 (Childhood)
  • 13-17 (Adolescent)
  • 18-25 (Young Adult)
Population Language:
  • English
  • Spanish
  • Other Population Language
Ethnic Racial Group:
  • Unspecified Ethnic Racial Group
  • Child and Non-abusive Parent/Caregiver
  • Child
  • Family
  • Grandparents
  • Survivor parent
  • Foster/Adoptive Parents
  • Other Client/audience
Population Adaptations:
Age range of children served:

10-18 years old

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


Ethnic/racial and other groups served:

None specified

Specific cultural adaptations:

None indicated

Languages that service/resource is available:

English, Spanish, Dutch


Goals of the program/services:
  • Treat children and adolescents who have severe emotional and behavioral problems
  • Teach families how to reestablish adult authority through consistent limits while reclaiming a loving relationship
Evaluation Studies:
Has there been any evaluation?


Key evaluation results:

Using a quasi-experimental design evaluation, youth recruited from the community mental health system in Idaho were compared to youth receiving treatment-as-usual (Sterett-Hong et al, 2017). Youth in the PLL intervention group returned at lower rates to outpatient treatment, crisis services and inpatient hospitalization compared to youth in the control group.

In another quasi-experimental design evaluation, youth transitioning from residential placement to the community within 18 months after the implementation of PLL were compared to youth who received standard probation aftercare services (Early et al, 2013). Youth in the PLL intervention group had lower rates of rearrest, readjudication, recommittment, felony adjudications, and felony arrests compared to control youths.

In a quasi-experimental design evaluation by Karam and colleagues (2017), moderate- to high-risk youth who received the PLL intervention had significantly fewer police contacts and parent-reported improvements in behavior compared to the treatment-as-usual control group.

Is there an evaluation currently in progress or planned?

None indicated.

Publications about the program:

Early KWS, Chapman SF, Hand GA. Family-focused reentry services: A quasi-experimental design evaluation of recidivism outcomes. Journal of Juvenile Justice. 2013;2(2):1-22.

Sterrett-Hong EM, Karam E, Kiaer L. Statewide implementation of Parenting with Love and Limits Among Youth with Co-Existing internalizing and externalizing functional impairments reduces return to service rates and treatment costs. Administration and Policy in Mental Health. 2017;44(5):792-809.

Karam EA, Sterrett EM, Kiaer L. The integration of family and group therapy as an alternative to juvenile incarceration: A quasi-experimental evaluation using Parenting with Love and Limits. Family Process. 2017;56(2):331-347.

Rated/Reviewed by Evidence Based Registries:

SAMHSA’s National Evidence Based Practice Resource Center 
California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare

Training & Resources

Training Language:
  • None specified
Training Available:
  • Yes
Training Details:
Training manuals/protocols:


Training Contact:

Program Contact

John Burek
(800) 735-9525