Model Web Resources


Since Practical Help for Parents aims at giving you practical support, our pledge is to personally review each website listed below, to the best of our ability, for content, timeliness and accuracy. We’ve tried to include only those sites that, time and again, have proven to be eminently useable. Let us know if you disagree, have problems with a particular website or think a model site should be added to this list.

Index of Model Web Resources

Local and National Resources

National Adolescent Health Information Center at UCSF The goals of the NAHIC are to serve as a national resource for adolescent health information and research; and to assure the integration, synthesis, coordination and dissemination of adolescent health-related information. This is a good source for up-to-date relevant research on teens.

Child and Family Services Department Information for Alameda County provides specific information on child abuse information and reporting for families and health professionals.

Marin Advocates for Children Child Abuse Prevention Council (CAPC) provides leadership in the prevention of child abuse through community education and training, and promotes policies and services that help support families and children. You can find information on referrals for services in Marin and get education on child abuse and neglect (diagnosis, prevention and treatment).

Family Service Agency of Marin is one of Marin’s greatest gems. FSA provides a critical safety net of caring and affordable mental health services to over 7,000 children, adults, and families each year. A fixture in Marin County for almost 70 years, FSA provides help for family members of all ages and backgrounds, including individual, family and couples counseling, addiction recovery, suicide prevention and intervention, crisis counseling and trauma intervention for children, support for elders, programs for young children, a variety of community education and a host of other vital programs. You can find out more on the website or by calling (415) 491-5700.

UC Berkeley Parents Network is simply an amazing online community with information about everything you’d ever want to know about parenting in the Bay Area…by parents, for parents.

Palo Alto Medical Foundation provides a listing of Bay Area and national crisis lines and hotlines, from suicide and self-injury to grief support and sexuality information.

Parents Place provides comprehensive, results-oriented mental health services for children, teens and their families, emphasizing prevention and early intervention. Through individual counseling, play therapy, socialization groups, family therapy and consultations to parents, Parents Place gives families access to the tools they need whenever they need them. Parents Place also provides consultation, staff training, prevention and early intervention services to licensed, early childhood programs that serve low-income children and families.

Department of Motor Vehicles Teen Web The site links to Information about how to get your driver’s license and permit, as well as host of other good information on teens and driving; this is the DMV’s teen-specific website.

Kids’ Turn helps children understand and cope with the loss, anger and fear that often accompany separation or divorce. They provide education, training and groups for kids and parents separately and together.

Learning Disabilities Association of California (LDA-CA) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit volunteer organization of parents, professionals, and adults with learning disabilities. Its purpose is to promote and support the education and general welfare of children and adults of potentially normal intelligence who manifest learning, perceptual, and/or behavioral handicaps.

NAMI California is a grass roots organization of families and individuals whose lives have been affected by serious mental illness. We advocate for lives of quality and respect, without discrimination and stigma, for all our constituents. We provide leadership in advocacy, legislation, policy development, education and support throughout California.

Family Violence Law Center (FVLC) provides family law attorney service in English and Spanish for domestic violence victims in Alameda County and can provide legal referrals for other areas of the country. Services are available in any language through their confidential interpreter program. They provide help with things like restraining orders, legal representation in divorce, and assistance with child custody and visitation arrangements.

Jewish Family and Children’s Services is a nonsectarian, nonprofit organization that provides services to individuals and families of all ages and backgrounds. This link provides referrals and up-to-date resources, including services related to domestic violence.

Independent Schools of SF Bay Area is an online gathering place to explore private K-12 education in the San Francisco Bay Area; they provide assistance with choosing a school for your child, and information about the admissions processes at the various schools.

Parenting Teens & Preteens

The Education Resources Information Center (ERIC), sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) of the U.S. Department of Education, produces the world’s premier database of journal and non-journal education literature. The ERIC online system provides the public with a centralized ERIC Web site for searching the ERIC bibliographic database of more than 1.1 million citations going back to 1966. More than 107,000 full-text non-journal documents (issued 1993-2004), previously available through fee-based services only, are now available for free.

Thomas was launched in January of 1995, at the inception of the 104th Congress. It is service of the Library of Congress, and the key link to legislative information on the Internet.

Nolo Press is long a fixture in the “doing it yourself” world. Nolo Press publishes hundreds of legal books, forms and software, many related to issues involving the family.

National Institute of Mental Health provides a comprehensive website to help parents, educators, clinicians and researchers on a wide range of mental health topics. The site is not a substitute for professional help, but it represents a trusted place to start if you have questions about mental health.

WebMD provides up-to-date information on medical concerns of all sorts. Aside from the detailed info on everything from allergies to weight control, WebMD offers an assortment of quizzes, calculators, and other resources on topics such as diet and nutrition, infertility, men’s and women’s health issues, and sexuality. The site is helpful, but should not be used as a substitute for getting professional help.

Parents Place provides comprehensive, results-oriented mental health services for children, teens and their families, emphasizing prevention and early intervention. Through individual counseling, play therapy, socialization groups, family therapy and consultations to parents, Parents Place gives families access to the tools they need whenever they need them. Parents Place also provides consultation, staff training, prevention and early intervention services to licensed, early childhood programs that serve low-income children and families.

The Harvard Project on the Parenting of Adolescents provides one of the most comprehensive and cogent pieces of research on teens and what their developmental needs are in relation to privacy. A. Rae Simpson’s full report is an excellent source of general information on parenting teens.

Parents Education Network is a coalition of parents collaborating with educators, students and the community to empower and bring academic success to students with learning and attention difficulties.

Physical, Emotional, Social Development and Mental Health

The Child Psychiatry Branch of the National Institute of Mental Health conducts research on the diagnosis, treatment, and neurobiology of childhood psychiatric disorders. Brain imaging, genetic, and drug treatment studies are ongoing and described on this site. This is where Judith Rapoport and Jay Giedd work and for a research geek about adolescent brain development, this is the place. It’s certainly not the only place where great brain research is happening, but it’s one of them.

The Human Connectome Project is another one of those places where great brain research is happening. The Human Connectome Project is a joint endeavor of the Laboratory of Neuro Imaging at UCLA (LONI, http://www.loni.ucla.edu/) and the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging (http://www.nmr.mgh.harvard.edu/martinos/flashHome.php) at Massachusetts General Hospital, The project is funded by National Institute of Health.

Inside the Teenage Brain is a Frontline special that chronicled how scientists were exploring the recesses of the brain and finding some new explanations for why adolescents behave the way they do. These discoveries could change the way we parent, teach, or perhaps even understand our teenagers, but must be understood in the context of just how much in its beginning states this brain science stands.

NAMI is a nonprofit, grassroots, self-help, support and advocacy organization of consumers, families, and friends of people with severe mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic and other severe anxiety disorders, autism and pervasive developmental disorders, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and other severe and persistent mental illnesses that affect the brain.

The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) is the largest not-for-profit organization in the United States working to prevent eating disorders and provide treatment referrals to those suffering from anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder and those concerned with body image and weight issues.

National Institutes of Mental Health provides a menu of services regarding adolescent mental health disorders and treatment, news and information and publications and research materials.

National Institutes of Mental Health provides extensive information on eating disorder symptoms, causes, treatments and references for further exploration.

National Institutes of Mental Health provides extensive information on depression, including information on symptoms, causes, treatments and references for further exploration.

National Institutes of Mental Health provides extensive information on bipolar disorder, including information on symptoms, causes, treatments and references for further exploration.

The San Francisco Bay Area Center for Cognitive Therapy (SFBACCT) ) is a treatment group but also provides a lot of good information about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT has been shown to be the most effective treatment for anxiety and related disorders. SFBACCT provides individual therapy, training, referrals and education.

Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, developed by Dan Olweus—arguably one of the world’s experts on bullying and aggression among children. This downloadable program description provides an outline for this SAMHSA model program to reduce bullying in elementary, middle and high schools.

The Child Abuse Prevention Center provides national and international training, education, research and are source center dedicated to protecting children and building healthy families.

The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) is the nation’s largest anti-sexual assault organization. RAINN operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1.800.656.HOPE and carries out programs to prevent sexual assault, help victims and ensure that rapists are brought to justice. Inside, you’ll find statistics, counseling resources, prevention tips, news and more.

Identity Development

Go Ask Alice! is the health question and answer Internet service produced by Alice!, Columbia University’s Health Education Program—a division of Health Services at Columbia. This site has three primary features: Question & Answers of the week, with the most recently published inquiries and responses—updated every week; Search GAA! lets you find health information by subject via a search of the ever-growing Go Ask Alice! archives containing nearly 3,000 previously-posted questions and answers and gives you the chance to ask and submit a question to Alice!

Youth Radio promotes young people’s intellectual, creative, and professional growth through education and access to media. What can I say about this organization? I love radio and I love what Youth Radio does. They teach media education, broadcast journalism, technical training and production activities provide unique opportunities in social, professional and leadership development for youth, ages 14-24. They help connect youth with their communities through media literacy and professional development. Nobody is perfect, but I think the overall mission and work of this organization exemplifies the way learning for adolescents should take place.

National Institute of Mental Health provides a listing of Bay Area and national crisis lines and hotlines, from suicide and self-injury to grief support and sexuality information.

Palo Alto Medical Foundation provides a listing of Bay Area and national crisis lines and hotlines, from suicide and self-injury to grief support and sexuality information.

How Stuff Works is for geeks and non-geeks alike. This is just a cool site. Want to know how something works? This is where you’ll probably find out about it. This can be used to impress your physics teacher, if you’re in the mood.

Jewish Family and Children’s Services is a nonsectarian, nonprofit organization that provides services to individuals and families of all ages and backgrounds. This link provides referrals and up-to-date resources, including a range services for kids and families.

Internet & Digital Media

The Women’s Media Center works with the media to ensure that women’s stories are told and women’s voices are heard. WMC provides or participates in media advocacy campaigns, media monitoring for sexism, creating original content, and training women and girls to participate in media. They are directly engaged with the media at all levels to ensure that a diverse group of women is present in newsrooms, on air, in print and online, in film, entertainment, and theater, as sources and subjects.

The Search Institute assists families and educators to maximize the benefits and minimize the harm of mass media on children through research, education and advocacy. This is a good site to help you make wise media choices.

USC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future conducts long-term longitudinal studies on the impact of computers, the Internet and related technologies on families and society. The results from the first year of the project were released to nationwide acclaim in October 2000 and the project continues using a combination of well-accepted scientific survey methods and techniques for social science data analysis.

The Pew Internet & American Life Project is one of seven projects that make up the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan, nonprofit “fact tank” that provides information on the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. The Project produces reports exploring the impact of the internet on families, communities, work and home, daily life, education, health care, and civic and political life. The quality of their work is outstanding—this is the place to look for great research on teens and digital media.

The Berkman Center for Internet & Society was formed at Harvard University to explore and understand cyberspace; to study its development, dynamics, norms, and standards; and to assess the need or lack thereof for laws and sanctions. This is one of the best nonprofit research sites on the Internet.

The Benton Foundation aims to articulate a public interest vision for the digital age and to demonstrate the value of communications for solving social problems. There is good information here about policy discussions on digital media.

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation is a non-profit, private operating foundation focusing on the major health care issues facing the nation. The Foundation is an independent voice and source of facts and analysis for policymakers, the media, the health care community, and the general public. The link above goes directly to the Foundation’s study on children and Internet use. The Foundation is not associated with Kaiser Permanente or Kaiser Industries. The Foundation also has research on child and television use at http//www.kff.org/entmedia/tv.cfm.

Wired Kids, Inc. is a U.S. charity dedicated to protecting all Internet users, especially children, from cybercrime and abuse. It operates several programs and Web sites designed to help everyone learn how to protect their privacy and security online and to teach responsible Internet use.

See Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation description above. This link is for Kids & Media at the New Millennium, one of the most comprehensive national public studies ever conducted of young people’s media use. The study, based on a nationally representative sample of more than 3,000 children ages 2 -18, shows how much time kids spend watching TV and movies, using computers, playing video games, listening to music, and reading.

ScreenIt.com provides information to parents about movie content prior to their kids viewing the material. While I don’t usually provide links to paid sites, this might be of interest to parents who want to get detailed information before you allow certain movies to be viewed. A yearly subscription is about $50, as of 2012.

The Search Institute assists families and educators to maximize the benefits and minimize the harm of mass media on children through research, education and advocacy. This is a good site to help you make wise media choices.

Teens, Drugs, Alcohol and Parties

The Harm Reduction Therapy Center offers outpatient therapy and treatment services to people interested in an alternative approach to addiction. Part of the larger public health harm reduction movement that includes needle exchange programs, safer sex education, and other interventions to prevent the spread of HIV and other diseases, the goal of the Harm Reduction Therapy Center (HRTC) is to reduce the damage to individuals, families, and communities caused by drug and alcohol use. This may be achieved by changing, reducing, or eliminating drug and alcohol use.

National Institutes on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism website includes information from the latest research studies, a searchable database of resources along with treatment referral information.

National Institutes of Drug Abuse website contains excellent basic information about just about all drugs of abuse, including material on assessment, treatment and general education resources. See http://www.nida.nih.gov/parent-teacher.html for the parent/teacher section.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides this on-line resource for locating drug and alcohol abuse treatment programs. The Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator lists: private and public facilities that are licensed, certified, or otherwise approved for inclusion by their State substance abuse agency and; treatment facilities administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Indian Health Service and the Department of Defense. SAMHSA endeavors to keep the Locator current. Their “model programs” list features treatment approaches that have been been tested in communities, schools, social service organizations, and workplaces across America, and have provided solid proof that they have prevented or reduced substance abuse and other related high-risk behaviors.

Dance Safe is a nonprofit, harm reduction organization promoting health and safety within the rave and nightclub community. This is a controversial organization but you should know about it, because most teenagers know about it and they’ve helped save a lot of lives. They train volunteers to be health educators and drug abuse prevention counselors within their own communities, utilizing the principles and methods of harm reduction and popular education.

Sexuality, Relationships & The Importance of Status

Child Trends is a 26-year-old nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization dedicated to improving the lives of children by conducting research and providing science-based information to improve the decisions, programs, and policies that affect children and their families. Once you get to the site, click on the link for reports and information on adolescent sexual behavior.

The Media Project provides services to the entertainment industry regarding sex information and education. Since many television and film projects use the Media Project to gather current information about sex and sexuality, this is a good source for parents who want to know up-to-date information about teens and sex and want to know what sorts of information is being supplied to the media. Their services include a HELPline, tailored meetings, and industry-wide informational briefings.

SIECUS (the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States) has served as the national voice for sexuality education, sexual health, and sexual rights for over 40 years. SIECUS affirms that sexuality is a fundamental part of being human, one that is worthy of dignity and respect. They advocate for the right of all people to accurate information, comprehensive education about sexuality, and sexual health services.

The Kaiser Family Foundation/Seventeen Partnership partnership with Seventeen magazine provides candid information based on teen research regarding sex and dating.

Talk To Me First–A Book (and Website) from Deborah Roffman. We live in a time when kids of all ages are bombarded with age-sensitive material wherever they turn; “sexting” and bullying are on the rise at an increasingly younger age, and teen moms are “celebrified.” What is a concerned–and embarrassed–parent to do? With wit, wisdom, and savvy, Deborah Roffman translates her experiences gleaned from decades of teaching kids and parents, and as a mom, into strategies to help parents navigate this tricky terrain. Talk to Me First is for any parent who wants to become and remain the most credible and influential resource about sexuality in their children’s lives. It doesn’t get any better than this–Deborah is a tremendous resource for parents of teens.

The American Bar Association Division for Public Education sponsors a National Teen Dating Violence Prevention Initiative in an attempt to inform teens, parents, educators and the general public about the facts surrounding teen violence in dating. You can click here for their downloadable fact sheet or teachers can click on the following link to download the Teen Dating Violence Prevention Classroom Guide for some really excellent tips on bringing up the topic during advisories or class discussions.

The Maternal and Child Health Library at Georgetown University is a “one-stop shop” for information on youth violence prevention, sponsored by Georgetown University with links and information about other organizations and federal agencies working to help understand and mitigate youth violence. This link provides information on teen dating violence and abuse.

Love is Respect  is an organization founded by fashion designer Liz Claiborne in order to help educate on teens, dating and intimate partner violence. The site contains many excellent resources and help for teens and parents on dating and safe relating.

Status Anxiety is a book by Alain de Botton—a really important work for understanding the importance of status and worry about status. This is a crucial aspect of adolescent development in the United States and it makes Status Anxiety worth a read.

Education, Learning and School

WestEd was formed in 1966 and is now a nationally renowned nonprofit research, development, and service agency, striving to enhance and increase education and human development within schools, families, and communities. You can check here for information about WestEd’s projects.

Great Schools.net is a comprehensive source of information on elementary, middle and high schools around the country. A nonprofit organization, GreatSchools.net provides information about public, private and charter schools in all 50 states and detailed school profiles for California, Arizona, Texas, Florida, Colorado, New York and Washington.

National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) provides this searchable database of member schools across the United States and around the world. Each record contains basic contact information about the school and financial aid possibilities, including a link to the school’s website when available. In addition to individual school records, families may also get information about regional or state independent school associations by using the association search feature.

Independent Schools of the San Francisco Bay Area is an online gathering place to explore private K-12 education in the San Francisco Bay Area; they provide assistance with choosing a school for your child, and information about the admissions processes at the various schools.

Alameda Oakland Home Learners is a nonprofit volunteer organization developed by parents to provide information on all aspects of homeschooling in the East Bay, as well as links to other parents who are working on homeschooling their children.

Learning Disabilities Association of America(LDA) offers support to people with learning disabilities, their parents, teachers and other professionals. At the national, state and local levels, LDA provides cutting edge information on learning disabilities, practical solutions, and a comprehensive network of resources. You can use this link to go directly to the parent’s section of LDA America.

Office of Civil Rights, Department of Education of the Department of Education works to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access. You can find good information here about the transition to college for LD students.

Wrights Law provides news, information and guidance on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA), the nation’s law that works to improved results for infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities, as well as other information on the ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) and other laws affecting students with disabilities.

Internet Special Education Resources (ISER) is a nationwide directory of professionals who serve the learning disabilities and special education communities. They help parents and caregivers find local special education professionals to help with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorder assessment, therapy, advocacy, and other special needs.

Educational Testing Services disabilities section was developed in conjunction with the Office of Disability Policy, and provides information on standardized testing accommodations to qualified individuals. This website will help you or your student understand and apply for accommodations for SAT, SATII, ACT, AP and other standardized tests.

Children and Adults with AD/HD (CHADD) is a real gem. CHADD is a national non-profit organization founded in 1987 in response to the frustration and sense of isolation experienced by parents and their children with AD/HD. Many individuals and families dealing with AD/HD turn to CHADD, the national organization representing individuals with AD/HD, for education, advocacy and support. The organization is composed of dedicated volunteers from around the country who play an integral part in the association’s success by providing resources and encouragement to parents, educators and professionals on a grassroots level through CHADD chapters.

Kid Source online website focuses on helping students with learning disabilities plan for college—choosing a school, making the transition to college and a host of other topics are included.

Learning Disabilities Online (LD Online) is a very comprehensive, thorough resource to support families, students and educators around understanding and working with all kinds of learning disabilities. Go to www.ldaonline.start to get right to the resources you need, depending upon your situation website primarily serves parents whose kids (kindergarten through high school) have learning difficulties, including: Specific learning disabilities, attention problems (including Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD)) and information on kids who struggle with similar problems but who don’t qualify for special education.

Teens, Preteens & the Family

The Council on Contemporary Families was founded in 1996 and based at the University of Miami. CCF is a a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to providing the press and public with the latest research and best-practice findings about American families. CCF is made up of demographers, economists, family therapists, historians, political scientists, psychologists, social workers, sociologists, as well as other family social scientists and practitioners.

The Child & Family WebGuide provides approved links to websites and videos on topics of interest to parents. It is also used by students and professionals in the fields of child development, education, and psychology. The WebGuide primarily provides links to organizations and videos that have a legitimate research basis for the material they provide. At the request of parents, the Resources/Recreation section contains sites with information about specific programs and things to do, and this material is not research-based. Users of the WebGuide can search particular age group (topics by age).

Responsibility, Building Character & Being in Community

The Markula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University is one of the preeminent centers for research and dialogue on ethical issues in critical areas of American life. The center works with faculty, staff, students, community leaders, and the public to address ethical issues more effectively in teaching, research, and action. The center’s focus areas are business, health care and biotechnology, character education, government, global leadership, technology, and emerging issues in ethics.

The Center for Investigative Reporting is one of the best sources of actual news and investigative reporting. Most media outlets simply aggregate and post “news,” but the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) is different in providing thoroughly reported stories on the environment, immigration, government accountability, education, health, campaign finance and more. One of their brands–California Watch–is simply one of the best sources for news and information in and about California.

Josephson Institute Center for Ethics is a public-benefit, nonpartisan, nonprofit membership organization founded by Michael Josephson in honor of his parents. Since 1987, the Institute has conducted programs and workshops for over 100,000 influential leaders including legislators and mayors, high-ranking public executives, congressional staff, editors and reporters, senior corporate and nonprofit executives, judges and lawyers, and military and police officers. This site makes for intriguing reading on the latest large-scale survey on youth and ethical behavior.

Senate.gov provides links to the U.S. Senate, including staff listings, legislation and Senate records.

House.gov provides links to the U.S. House of Representatives, including staff listings, legislation and House of Representatives records.

Charity Watch (formerly American Institute of Philanthropy) is a nonprofit charity watchdog and information service, aims to maximize the effectiveness of every dollar contributed to charity by providing donors with the information they need to make more informed giving decisions. This is a great site to find out where to give and how your dollars and time might be best utilized.