Vision, Mission & History

JollyK2Jolly K.
Parents Anonymous® Inc.

“Dedicated to the millions of parents and children who turned their lives around through Parents Anonymous® and the many more who will reach out, strengthen their families, and change communities through this vital prevention program.

“We envision a just society where everyone thrives in resilient families and communities.
Our mission is to ensure meaningful Parent and Youth Leadership with lived experiences in Shared Leadership® that results in better outcomes for families and communities by advocating, implementing and evaluating across systems through evidence-based Parents Anonymous® Groups, National Parent Helpline®, Shared Leadership® in Action and National Certification of Parent Leaders and Staff.As the nation’s premier family strengthening organization dedicated to mitigating and preventing Adverse Childhood Experiences, Parents Anonymous® Inc. is a community of parents, organizations and volunteers committed to:

  • Building resiliency in all Parents, Children & Youth that mitigates the impact and prevents Adverse Childhood Experiences that lead to all major health and mental health concerns
  • Fostering the well-being of Parents/Caregivers, Children and Youth and family functioning
  • Strengthening Families and Building Strong Communities
  • Achieving Meaningful Parent and Youth Leadership and Shared Leadership® with Agencies, Policy-Makers and the Community
  • Improving programs, creating meaningful policy change, and contributing to the body of knowledge through research and evaluation efforts
  • Ensuring that We Stand with Families by fostering personal empowerment and resilient human spirit to harness vital social capital to support Parents/Caregivers with any mental health and other related concerns

Parents Anonymous® Inc. was founded in 1969 through the extraordinary efforts of Jolly K., a courageous and tenacious, mother who sought help to create a safe and caring home for her family. Faced with personal traumas and mental health issues of her children she sought help, support, hope and build upon her strengths to foster a brighter future for her family and millions of others. Her tenacity has inspired and encouraged so many families worldwide. The Parents Anonymous® Group, was first family strengthening program (created in California) still stands as the only evidence-based Parent Partner Program according to the California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare (add link). Working in partnership with her social worker, they launched a unique solution for parents who wanted to strengthen their families faced with many mental health and other related problems — the Parents Anonymous® Program – a group which meets weekly, is free of charge to parents and caregivers and is evidenced-based utilizing mutual support, parent leadership and shared leadership® to empower, inspire and create long term positive changes in their families. As a comprehensive family strengthening program, all children and youth of the Parents Anonymous® Parents attend weekly their Children and Youth Groups which meet simultaneously utilize the same principles to improve self-esteem, problem solving skills, enhance well-being and create leadership opportunities for personal growth and development. We know that Asking for Help is a Sign of Strength®. Moving to new heights, we created the only National Certification of Parent Leaders and National Certification on Shared Leadership® for Staff to enhance social capital and ensure high level knowledge, skills and abilities to improve the lives of families and communities. These advocacy, outreach and public awareness programs are research based and utilizes sophisticated Training, Guide Practice, Peer Support and Evaluation to ensure the develop of 10 Leadership Competencies.

Parents Anonymous® Inc. was the first national family strengthening organization to:

  • Recognize and value the expertise of Parent and Youth Leaders with lived experiences
  • Engage in Trauma Informed Practice
  • Advocate and model shared leadership® between parents, agencies and policy makers to ensure evidence-based results that benefit families
  • Create a National Certification of Parent Leaders (add link) and National Certification on Shared Leadership® for Staff
  • Advance an innovative conceptual framework and ambitious research agenda on Parent Leadership and Shared Leadership® that promote the strengthening of families and communities

Parents Anonymous® Inc. sponsors a worldwide outreach and public awareness campaign:  Stand with Families that promotes family strengthening and collaboration. We developed the first Parent Partner Role Description and Fidelity Tool published in Social Work Research that is utilized throughout California and nationwide with a Team of 35 Parents, Parent Partners, Staff and Counties across California implementing Wraparound Services. We also operate the only National Parent Helpline® providing emotional support and resources to parents seeking help who have nowhere to turn, with over 350 national, state and local partners. We developed the first National Coalition on Parent Advocacy in Child Protective Services with a group of dedicated Parent Leaders and Agency advocates to develop a solid partnership with over 250 partners nationwide and promote the first ever Bill of Rights for Mothers and Fathers (add link). Furthermore, to support a meaningful dialogue with Parent Leaders and Staff we operate the only Parent Leadership Network on Facebook promising meaningful results. To celebrate the success of parents, we sponsor worldwide February National Parent Leadership Month® to celebrate the success of parents. Furthermore, the Shared Leadership® in Action Program provides evidenced-based strategies to ensure meaningful results with parent and staff to create programs and systems change to better outcomes for families and communities. We provide comprehensive technical assistance, trainings, guided practice, and evaluation services through webinars, face to face consultation, publications and actual research to measure impact throughout California and nationwide since 1969. In 2013, the Federal Agency, SAMHSA issues a Policy Directive advocating for evidence-based Parent Peer Support Programs such as Parents Anonymous® that effectively strengthens families through peer support resulting in less trauma to the family, reduced hospitalizations and other the ability for other Parents to support one another building social capital and an advocacy network of support and effective policies. Parents Anonymous® Inc. provides training and technical assistance, develops publications and conducts research on meaningful Parent and Shared Leadership®, engages in systems reform and effective community-based strategies to strengthen families worldwide.

Today Parents Anonymous® Inc. leads a dynamic international Network of hundreds of accredited organizations and local affiliates that implement quality Parents Anonymous® Programs for adults, children and youth and our success has been confirmed through research. Parents Anonymous® Inc. provides training and technical assistance, develops publications and conducts research on meaningful Parent and Shared Leadership®, engages in systems reform and effective community-based strategies to strengthen families worldwide. We operate a National Parent Leadership Team® and a California Parent Leadership Team® ensuring meaningful shared leadership® in systems reform, program innovations and cultural responsiveness to create better outcomes for families.

Our committed Board of Directors includes national experts in child abuse prevention, business representatives and Parent Leaders who have utilized Parents Anonymous® services or have raised or are raising children and youth with mental health concerns. More than 51% of the Board of Directors and Staff have lived experiences in any system or program addressing family issues including child welfare, behavioral health, early childhood and care, education, substance abuse, juvenile and adult justice, courts, Adverse Childhood Experiences, health care, domestic violence and developmental disabilities. 

Integral to our mission, vision and operations is the unique shared leadership® strategies implemented with Parents Anonymous® Parent Leaders to ensure the successful achievement of all organizational goals. Parents Anonymous® Inc. has a long impressive history of effectively advocating for the creation and support of meaningful leadership roles for parents and youth focusing on systems change with other organizations, policy-making bodies, and initiatives to ensure better outcomes for families. 

We continue to Keep our Promise to maintain evidence-based, culturally responsive, and innovative programs, strategies and initiatives for the millions of fearless parents, children, and youth who successfully change their lives forever through Parents Anonymous®