Published: November 21, 2019

Prguda, E., & Burke, K. (2020). All eyes on me as a parent: Professionals’ and Offenders’ views on parenting challenges and barriers to accessing parenting services. Child Abuse & Neglect99, 104226.


Emina Prguda and Kylie Burke



The intergenerational transmission of ineffective parenting practices and the cycle of crime are well documented. Despite this, insufficient research has examined parenting support services for parents who are involved in the Criminal Justice System (CJS), particularly community corrections. Research suggests that barriers exist to offender parents utilizing support services in the community, including parenting services.


This study examined the key barriers that prevent offender parents from accessing parenting services in the community, pathways to parenting support for parents through Corrective Services and community agencies, and the key parenting challenges that parents experience.

Method, setting and participants

14 focus groups were conducted in Australia with professional staff from Corrective Services’ Probation and Parole (n = 53), community agencies (n = 9), and parents serving community-based corrections orders (n = 8).


Inductive thematic analysis led to the identification of five themes that elucidate the key barriers to service access and parenting challenges including: insufficient available parenting programs, concerns and fear of child protection, intergenerational parenting problems, multiple presenting issues, and the fear of being judged. Overall, there was strong convergence in perspectives between professionals and parents, the key difference pertained to parental perceptions of child protection interventions.


In addition to their empirical contribution, the findings have resulted in recommendations on how to address barriers to service access, improve parent engagement and improve the implementation of evidence-based parenting programs for CJS-involved parents in the community.