Active Parenting of Teens: Families in Action™

Mental Health Substance Use Prevention or Treatment In-home Parent Skill-Based Does Not Currently Meet Criteria

Active Parenting of Teens: Families in Action™ (Families in Action) is an education program that adapts Active Parenting of Teens to be delivered to both teens ages 11–16 and their parents. Families in Action aims to strengthen parenting skills and prevent teen risk-taking behaviors, including drug use, violence, and early sexual activity. In addition to preventing risk-taking behaviors, Families in Action aims to help teens develop communication skills, independence, and responsibility. 


Families in Action includes up to six structured session topics: (1) how to survive and thrive, which includes the importance of mutual respect and the power of choice; (2) cooperation and communication; (3) responsibility and discipline; (4) building courage and self-esteem; and (5 & 6) understanding the risks of drugs, sexuality, and violence, and risk prevention strategies. In each session, teen groups and parent groups meet separately first and receive different content on the same topics. Once teens join their parents, both groups participate together for the remainder of the session. Class leaders present session content through various mediums, such as leader presentations, PowerPoint slides, video vignettes, group discussions, role play and practice activities, and guidebook review. Home practice is supported with a workbook and online videos.

Families in Action does not currently meet criteria to receive a rating because no studies met eligibility criteria for review.

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed: Dec 2022


The program or service description, target population, and program or service delivery and implementation information were informed by the following sources: the program or service manual, the program or service developer’s website, and the California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare.

This information does not necessarily represent the views of the program or service developers. For more information on how this program or service was reviewed, visit the Review Process page or download the Handbook.

Target Population

Families in Action is designed for teens ages 11–16 and their parents.


Families in Action is typically delivered in six weekly 2.5-hour sessions to groups of parents with their teens. In the first two hours, parents and teens meet in separate groups led by separate class leaders; in the final half-hour, parents and teens meet in a combined group. Program content can be implemented flexibly, including delivering only the first four sessions or delivering the first three or four sessions as a unit with remaining sessions scheduled as a follow-up course. 

Location/Delivery Setting
Recommended Locations/Delivery Settings

Families in Action is delivered in school settings or community-based organizations. Class leaders typically conduct sessions in person, though virtual delivery options are available. 

Education, Certifications and Training

Implementing organizations may set educational requirements for class leaders. Formal training is not required, though class leader training workshops are available and consist of a 1-day, 7-hour live training webinar or a self-study class with video, reading, and discussion tools. 

Class leaders who have completed the training workshop can complete a formal certification process, though certification is not required to deliver the program. To become certified, a class leader must lead an Active Parenting class, administer class participant evaluation forms, complete a self-evaluation form, and send materials to the developer for approval. 

Program or Service Documentation
Book/Manual/Available documentation used for review

Active Parenting of Teens: Families in Action/Teens in Action Leader’s Guide is implemented in conjunction with Active Parenting of Teens Leader’s Guide.

Popkin, M. H., & Hendrickson, P. (2012). Active Parenting of Teens: Families in Action™/Teens in Action: Leader’s guide. Active Parenting Publishers.

Popkin, M. H. (2009). Active Parenting of Teens: Leader’s guide (3rd ed.). Active Parenting Publishers.

Available languages

Families in Action materials are available in English.

Other supporting materials

Class Leader Training

Popkin, M. H., & Hendrickson, P. (2012). Teens in Action: A teen’s guide for surviving and thriving in the 21st century. Active Parenting Publishers. 

For More Information


Phone: (800) 825-0060


Note: The details on Dosage; Location; Education, Certifications, and Training; Other Supporting Materials; and For More Information sections above are provided to website users for informational purposes only. This information is not exhaustive and may be subject to change.

Results of Search and Review Number of Studies Identified and Reviewed for Active Parenting of Teens: Families in Action™
Identified in Search 2
Eligible for Review 0
Rated High 0
Rated Moderate 0
Rated Low 0
Reviewed Only for Risk of Harm 0
Sometimes study results are reported in more than one document, or a single document reports results from multiple studies. Studies are identified below by their Prevention Services Clearinghouse study identification numbers. To receive a rating of supported or well-supported, the favorable evidence for a program or service must have been obtained from research conducted in a usual care or practice setting.

Studies Not Eligible for Review

Study 14246

Pilgrim, C., Abbey, A., Hendrickson, P., & Lorenz, S. (1998). Implementation and impact of a family-based substance abuse prevention program in rural communities. The Journal of Primary Prevention, 18(3), 341-361.

This study is ineligible for review because it is not a study of the program or service under review (Study Eligibility Criterion 4.1.6).

Study 14306

Abbey, A., Pilgrim, C., Hendrickson, P., and Buresh, S. (2000). Evaluation of a family-based substance abuse prevention program targeted for the middle school years. Journal of Drug Education, 30(2), 213-228.

This study is ineligible for review because it is not a study of the program or service under review (Study Eligibility Criterion 4.1.6).