Nov. 7, 1996
Vol. 16, No. 5

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    Parents Anonymous: Focus on prevention of child abuse

    One organization that will benefit from the University's Campaign for the United Way and Other Charities is Parents Anonymous, an international organization committed to helping parents who want to improve relationships with their children.

    "Parents Anonymous provides a network of self-help groups for those who need support and guidance in dealing with a number of common parental issues -- anger, stress, isolation and learning to communicate well with children," said Maureen Blaha, director of Illinois Parents Anonymous. a service of Children's Home & Aid Society of Illinois.

    Founded in 1970, Parents Anonymous is now the world's largest family support system, with more than 2,000 groups in the United States alone. Local groups meet weekly, with parents taking responsibility for determining the content of the meetings and for setting overall goals. A volunteer professional facilitator guides the group's work and provides resources to help develop successful parenting techniques.

    Volunteerism is a key to the success of many Parents Anonymous groups, according to Blaha. "We always need professionals in fields such as mental health, social service, health and education to volunteer as group facilitators," she said. "While we are open to any parent who is dealing with these issues, we are especially concerned about and involved with helping parents whose abusive behavior -- verbal, physical or emotional -- is hurting their children. In this way, donations to the University's 'Giving to Help' campaign not only helps parents but also helps decrease the possibility of child abuse in the future," she said.

    For more information, call Parents Anonymous at (312) 831-8748 or (312) 424-6822.