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Parent-Child Care (PC-CARE) is a 6 session dyadic treatment program for families that are interested in improving caregiver-child relationships and are willing to learn new child behavior management strategies. It serves families with children ages 1 to 10 years. A wide range of caregivers can participate, including biological parents, foster and kin caregivers, and adoptive caregivers. PC-CARE can be provided by mental health clinicians as a mental health intervention, and paraprofessionals as a prevention service.


Each week the caregiver and child attend a 1 hour session for a total of 7 weeks (including 1 pre-treatment assessment and behavior observation and 6 weeks of dyadic and coaching sessions). During each hour long session the provider checks in with the family, uses a brief child behavior screener to address behaviors in the past week, does a 10 minute didactic of new skills, and then coaches the caregiver for 30 minutes live in the moment to use the new skills during play with the child. At the end of the session the provider assigns “Daily CARE” to the caregiver to use the skills during play with the child for 5 minutes every day.


PC-CARE is for any caregiver that is motivated to improve their relationship with their child and to learn new caregiving skills. Caregivers should have custody of the child, or have at least regular contact (e.g., foster, adoptive, relative, reunited parent that has at least supervised visits). Caregivers need to be willing to spend five minutes in play with their child on a daily basis. This program is for children between the ages of 1 and 10 years who may have experienced a traumatic event, may be adjusting to a new home, or may be disruptive and defiant. PC-CARE has been adapted into a variety of protocols for a wide range of populations and needs: Spanish-speaking families, toddlers, older children, children with sexual behavior problems, children with ASD and IDD, and children with feeding problems.

Decision Grid: PCIT vs PC-CARE

PCIT vs PC-CARE Decision Grid (PDF)

If you are a caregiver interested in PC-CARE services in the Sacramento County area, call (916) 734-8396 or email

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The UC Davis CAARE Center is funded by the Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) (SM63268). The views and opinions of authors expressed in this (document, product, web site) do not necessarily state or reflect those of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).