PCIT works concurrently with parents and children to improve the quality of the parent-child relationship and teach parents the skills necessary to manage their child’s severe behavior problems.

Parents who are overwhelmed, depressed, stressed, or feel guilty and confused by their child’s disruptive and challenging behaviors are taught how to better deal with problems such as:

  • Difficulty in school, preschool, and/or daycare
  • Aggression toward parents, siblings, and/or other children
  • Sassing back to their parents
  • Refusing to follow directions
  • Frequent temper tantrums
  • Swearing
  • Defiance

Or, matters related to:

  • Currently living with their parent (or will soon be reunited)
  • Being on medication to manage their behavioral problems
  • Currently living in foster care (treatment can be conducted with biological, foster, or adoptive caregivers)

PCIT is made up of two parts. Through Relationship Enhancement, therapists coach parents to increase positive and supportive communication with their child. Through Strategies to Improve Compliance, parents learn and practice effective child‐management skills during therapy until they master them and their children’s behavior improves.

PCIT is proven effective by more than 100 research studies and has been shown to successfully reduce trauma symptoms of abused or maltreated children. This short video describes how PCIT worked for one family with a history of trauma and abuse.


In 2012 the First 5 LA Board of Commissioners approved a five-year $17 million investment with the County of Los Angeles Department of Mental Health (LACDMH) to provide stipend funds:

  • For mental health therapists working at LACDMH-contracted mental health agencies to participate in 100 hours of PCIT training.
  • To provide Medi-Cal match, indigent care support, and capital to upgrade their facilities to provide PCIT.

In September 2012, First 5 LA also entered into a five-year $3 million contract with the Regents of California, University of California (UC) at Davis, CAARE Diagnostic & Treatment Center. This workforce project’s fundamental aim is to develop a sustainable capacity for PCIT service delivery in contracting agencies. Through utilization of an empirically supported Trainer of Trainer (ToT) model, we are working to develop a network of PCIT trainers who will assume the mantle of future PCIT trainings for many decades to come (www.pcit.ucdavis.edu). UC Davis PCIT Training Center was established in 1999, and has effectively trained more than 130 agencies world-wide in the fundamentals of PCIT service provision.

Partnership Goals

The overall aim of the investments is to coordinate the training of mental health therapists to become certified in PCIT, increase the number and geographic diversity of qualified PCIT providers, and deliver PCIT services to eligible children 2-5 years old and their parents, and strengthen parent-child relationships.

Who is funded under this program?

For a spreadsheet of all PCIT providers listed by SPA, click here.

For more information please call Bill Gould (213) 482-7550 or email bg****@fi******.org