Parent to Parent

Primary Practice

Matching of parents with experience, trained support parents of children with special health care needs.


Parent to Parent programs offer parent to parent support as a core resource for families with children who have a special health care needs, disabilities, or mental health issue. Through a one to one “match,” experienced support parents provide emotional support to families and assist them in finding information and resources. Parent to Parent programs are committed to listening and learning from families and developing an array of services and supports in response to family identified needs.

Parent to Parent of the United States was created in 2003 and became a non for profit organization 501(c)(3) in 2006. Parent to Parent USA has identified and connected all statewide Parent to Parent programs nationally and created an Alliance amongst all family support programs in the country. The Parent to Parent network is a national resource for families.

Target Population(s)

Caregivers who have children or adolescents with a special health need, mental health issue or disability


Nationally, Parent to Parent has received funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Maternal and Child Health, the Beach Center on Disability and Family Voices.


To ensure that families nation-wide whose children have special needs access services related to their needs

Evidence of Outcomes

Evidence-Informed Practice
An evaluation of Parent to Parent programs was conducted in five states using an experimental design. While there is support for the model, since it is grassroots driven there is considerable variability across programs. The national organization, Parent to Parent USA, has provided greater connection across programs.

Singer, Marquis, Powers, Blanchard, DiVenere, & Santelli (1999) evaluated Parent to Parent mentoring programs in 5 states. Parents were assigned to either a treatment group or a waiting list comparison group. The treatment group participated in Parent to Parent for 2 months. Groups were compared on measures of coping, attitude, and progress on addressing problems. Analyses showed statistically significant positive gains for the parents in the treatment group. Changes on a measure of empowerment were not statistically significant. A qualitative study based on consumer satisfaction interviews with parents provided insight into what makes the Parent to Parent program work.

Additional Information

Parent to Parent USA. (2017). Parent to Parent USA endorsed practices for matching and follow-up support. Available at:

Parent to Parent USA. (2017). Parent to Parent USA guidance for recruiting and training support parents. Available at:

Parent to Parent USA. (2017). Parent to Parent USA endorsed practices for parent to parent support. Available at:


Singer, G., Marquis, J., Powers, L., Blanchard, L., DiVenere, N., & Santelli, B. (1999). A Multi-site evaluation of parent to parent programs for parents of children with disabilities. Journal of Early Intervention, 22(3), 217-229.