CHILDREN AND FAMILIES’ SERVICES
Improving take-up of parenting
tel 020 7089 6840
fax 020 7089 6841
textphone 020 7089 6893
Institute for Excellence
2 Hay’s Lane
Improving take-up of parenting programmes
Part B of this report provides advice on how to ensure
that all parents are able to access parent education
programmes. It explores current take-up of parenting
programmes and potential barriers to access.
Improvng take-up of parentng programmes
a guide to promoting access to parent education programmes and
Frst publshed n Great Brtan n June 2009 by the Socal Care Insttute for Excellence
© SCIE 2009 All rghts reserved
Wrtten by Jabeer Butt
this report is available online www.scie.org.uk
Socal Care Insttute for Excellence Goldngs House
2 Hay’s Lane London SE1 2HB tel 020 7089 6840 fax 020 7089 6841
textphone 020 7089 6893 www.sce.org.uk
1 Introducton 1
2 Why focus on parent educaton programmes? 2
3 Are programmes reachng everyone who could beneft? 4
3.1 Summary 4
4 What are the barrers? 5
4.1 Gettng parents to the programme 5
4.1.1 Ensurng parents keep comng to the programme 6 4.1.2 Ensurng parents beneft from programmes 6
4.1.3 Overcomng barrers 7
4.2 Summary 7
5 Solutons: gettng parents to the programme 8
5.1 Focusng recrutment on parents from specfc target groups 8 5.2 Ensurng parents are nformed about the programme 9
5.3 Tacklng practcal barrers 10
5.4 Summary 11
6 Solutons: ensurng parents keep comng to the programme 12
6.1 Talorng parentng programmes 12
6.2 Creatng a welcomng and safe envronment 12
6.3 Engagng parents between sessons 13
6.4 Summary 14
7 Solutons: ensurng parents beneft from parent educaton programmes 15
7.1 The sklls and knowledge of the facltators 15
7.1.1 Regular evaluaton 16
7.2 Effectve communcaton 16
7.2.1 A facltatve approach 17
7.3 Summary 17
8 Concluson 18
Ths gude provdes advce on how to ensure that all parents are able to access parent educaton programmes. It explores current take-up of parentng programmes and potental barrers to access. Drawng on deas about good practce, t also
descrbes some solutons to overcomng these barrers. The am s to help programme facltators develop ther own solutons to address ther local concerns.
There are sgnposts to key resources throughout the gude. These provde further background nformaton and deas for good practce.
The gude has been developed for frontlne practtoners delverng parent educaton programmes as well as ther managers. It ams to further develop the sklls and knowledge requred by the Natonal Occupatonal Standards for Work wth Parents (www.parentnguk.org/2/standards). It can also be used to assess the accessblty of exstng parent educaton programmes.
2 Why focus on parent education programmes?
Parentng makes an enormous mpact on chldren’s lves. A recent World Health Organzaton (WHO) revew reported that responsve parentng, where parents observe chldren’s cues, nterpret and understand them and act on them to meet chldren’s needs, s benefcal to chldren’s development, and provdes them wth protecton from dsease and mortalty.4 Where parentng s harsh or nconsstent t worsens other rsk factors5 and ncreases the lkelhood of poor outcomes for chldren. Ths evdence has prompted the government’s nterest n parentng, as summarsed n the polcy document Every parent matters.6
Parent educaton programmes do have an mpact.7 They promote parents’ confdence and competence n ther parentng role and help parents to:
•understand chld development better
•promote ther chldren’s self-dscplne and socal abltes
•communcate better and establsh strong warm relatonshps wth ther chldren
•mprove relatonshps wth other adults n the household
•pass on ther ethnc, cultural and other values and tradtons.
Better practice box 1
A NICE and SCIE revew8 recommends parentng programmes n group settngs to help parents address conduct dsorders n chldren under 12 years old. Programmes work best f they:
•are structured and have a currculum nformed by the prncples of socal learnng theory
•nclude strateges for mprovng famly relatonshps
•offer a suffcent number of sessons, wth an optmum of 8–12
•enable parents to dentfy ther own parentng objectves
•ncorporate role-play durng sessons, as well as settng ‘homework’ between sessons, to help establsh new behavours at home
•are delvered by approprately traned and sklled facltators, who are able to establsh therapeutc relatonshps wth parents and receve hgh-qualty supervson wth access to ongong professonal development
•adhere to the programme developer’s manual and employ all of the necessary materals to ensure consstent mplementaton of the programme.
They also say:
3 However, parent educaton programmes do not work for all parents n all
crcumstances. Many programmes have been desgned and ‘tested’ for parents of chldren of a partcular age. Others need to be adapted before they wll work for some ethnc groups. Sometmes parents’ crcumstances are complex enough to ndcate that they are unlkely to beneft from a group-based programme and wll requre more ntensve one-to-one support for a tme.
3 are programmes reaching everyone who could benefit?
Parent educaton programmes may stll not be reachng everyone who could beneft.7, 9, 10 Manstream programmes attract manly women, and when men do attend, they are often n a mnorty.11 Most agences report dffcultes n engagng fathers from all communtes.12
Whle there has been an mprovement n take-up by black and mnorty ethnc (BME) parents snce the 1990s,10 ths has largely been due to the development of specfc servces for these parents.7 Manstream servces are stll strugglng to engage them,13 and combned wth uncertanty about the sutablty of some programmes7, 14 there are concerns that these parents, especally those from Asan famles, are stll not able to access the support they need.
The pcture for dsabled parents s unclear. Evaluatons of parentng programmes do not often assess whether dsabled parents have accessed the course. However, other sources of evdence suggest that dsabled parents are rarely able to fnd approprate parentng support.15 In partcular, parents wth learnng dsabltes are more lkely to have ther chldren taken nto care16 and less able to access programmes that are talored to meet ther needs.17
Recent government polcy has focused on famles who are experencng poverty or socal excluson, whch has mproved access to parent educaton programmes for these parents.18 Nevertheless, parents experencng the range of challenges posed by poverty may stll struggle to secure the support they need. Smlarly t s unclear whether teenage parents or parents from other margnalsed groups (for example asylum seekers) are able to access parentng programmes as often as requred.
Key resources 1
Barrett, H. (2008) Follow-up work to support implementation of the NICE/SCIE guidance on parenting programmes (CSDI), London: Socal Care Insttute for Excellence.9
Lews, C. and Lamb, M.E. (2007) Understanding fatherhood, York: Joseph Rowntree Foundaton.12
Olsen, R. and Tyers, H. (2004) Think parent: Supporting disabled adults as parents, London: Famly and Parentng Insttute.15
Phoenx, A. and Husan, F, (2007) Parenting and ethnicity, York: Joseph Rowntree Foundaton.19
SCIE (Socal Care Insttute for Excellence) (2005) Helping parents with learning disabilities in their role as parents, SCIE research brefng 14, London: SCIE.17
4 What are the barriers?
The cultural component of the course was hghly emphassed as the women lve n a very mult-cultural part of Brstol. Also many of the women have mxed hertage chldren. It was also very mportant to help everyone see the value and mportance of ther own cultural background. (facltator, quoted n Wldng and Barton, 2007)
The content of some parent educaton programmes may be a barrer to access. These programmes have tended to promote ‘whte mddle-class’ values, whle gnorng other approaches to parentng.7, 10, 14 Even the development of more nclusve content, as for example n the Incredble Years (www.ncredbleyears.com/) and Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communities programmes (www.raceequaltyfoundaton.org. uk/sfsc/ndex.asp), has not guaranteed that all parents wll engage.
In addton to programme content, a 2004 report dentfed three other man barrers to parents accessng programmes:7
•gettng parents to the programme
•ensurng parents keep comng to the programme
•ensurng parents beneft from programmes.
Inevtably the effects of these barrers overlap. For example, for some parents the demands of daly lfe may make attendng a 12-week programme appear unrealstc from the start, or once they do engage, may make t very dffcult to stay for the duraton. Nevertheless, n tryng to develop solutons t s worth explorng these barrers ndvdually.
4.1 Getting parents to the programme
Some parents aren’t comfortable wth somethng beng called a parentng group. (facltator, quoted n Barrett, 2007)
There are a number of barrers to gettng parents to attend a parentng programme. From the perspectve of parents these nclude:
•not knowng what s avalable
•practcal problems such as transport, chldcare, tmng
•not knowng anyone who has been on the programme.
Some parents have also expressed concern that they wll:
•be labelled as ‘a bad parent’, as only bad parents go on parentng programmes
•not understand what s beng ‘taught’
•not be understood themselves
•be ‘told what to do’
•(conversely) not be told what to do, and just st around talkng about feelngs
The strength of these concerns vares from parent to parent and between groups of parents: fathers tend to be most concerned about too much tme beng spent talkng about feelngs; worryng about beng labelled a ‘bad parent’ appears to be a partcular concern for parents experencng poverty; a lack of knowledge about what servces are avalable, combned wth not knowng anyone who has been on a programme, are the reasons BME parents usually gve for not accessng support.
4.1.1 Ensuring parents keep coming to the programme
I use ths phrase all the tme; they have to be n the rght place at the rght tme. And also when you’ve engaged them they have to be n a place where they actually have the understandng and awareness that they need to change somethng n order to help ther chld to change. And f t’s all just locatng the problem n the chld then they probably won’t change. (facltator, quoted n Barrett, 2007)
The content of the programme s a key factor n keepng parents engaged. However, other barrers nclude:
•the behavour of other partcpants who can be domnatng/judgemental/ argumentatve
•not trustng partcpants/facltators to keep thngs confdental
•parents feelng solated because they are the only father/black parent/dsabled parent
•not feelng welcomed by the facltator
•daly lfe gettng n the way of regular attendance.
The effect of these barrers wll agan vary from parent to parent dependng on ther experence and crcumstances; parents wth a complex set of needs, and often parents n poverty, are lkely to fnd regular attendance at a course dffcult to manage, whereas parents who are n a mnorty are more lkely to report feelng solated.
4.1.2 Ensuring parents benefit from programmes
I have had the chance to do parentng courses run by the communty learnng dsabltes team and these have helped me to communcate better wth the chldren and manage tantrums. It has helped wth my confdence. (parent, quoted n Olsen and Tyers)
Effectve programmes are based on an nteractve approach and ncorporate the prncples of adult learnng nto ther delvery. It s dffcult for parents to gan from a programme f facltators fal to:
•establsh and mantan relatonshps wth all parents
•create a safe and welcomng atmosphere
•communcate effectvely wth all parents
•encourage and value all parents’ contrbutons
7 Communcaton problems are often the man reason parents fnd t dffcult to learn from parentng programmes. The language used, the level of readng ablty requred and the pace of delvery can all pose problems. Any course nformaton therefore needs to be talored to specfc groups of parents (for example parents whose frst language s not Englsh, and parents wth learnng dsabltes). Ths can only happen f facltators establsh and mantan good relatonshps wth all parents.
4.1.3 overcoming barriers
To some extent, these practcal ssues and concerns wll nfluence every parent’s decson about whether to attend a parentng programme and whether they stay, as well as what they gan from the experence. Overcomng these barrers has been shown to be especally mportant for parents who have prevously been excluded, but as mportantly, by successfully addressng these concerns, t s lkely that the experence of all parents wll be mproved.
In consderng how best to overcome these barrers t s mportant not to conclude, for example, that all BME parents wll feel solated or that all fathers do not lke to talk about feelngs. Ths would lead to poor recrutment, retenton and engagement. However, t s helpful to consder these general tendences when plannng the delvery of a programme, as ths wll:
•ensure easy access for all parents
•make t easy for all parents to partcpate
•ensure that all parents gan from the tme and energy that they put n.
Key resources 2
Barlow, J., Shaw, R. and Stewart-Brown, S. n conjuncton wth the Race Equalty Unt (2004) Parenting programmes and minority ethnic families: Experiences and outcomes, London: Natonal Chldren’s Bureau.14
Moran, P., Ghate, D. and van der Merwe, A. (2004) What works in parenting support? A review of the international evidence, Research Report 574, London: Home Offce.7
SCIE (Socal Care Insttute for Excellence) (2005) Helping parents with learning disabilities in their role as parents, SCIE research brefng 14, London: SCIE.17
5 solutions: getting parents to the programme
That’s really the key to gettng people who’ve got complex needs nvolved n a parentng programme, they have to do all the extra work beforehand and then ganng ther trust and stuff. And f you just offered a programme wthout dong that what do you thnk would happen? They won’t come. (facltator, quoted n Barrett, 2007)
Gettng parents to attend a parentng programme requres:
•focusng recrutment on parents from specfc target groups
•ensurng parents are nformed about the programme
•tacklng practcal barrers.
5.1 focusing recruitment on parents from specific target groups
A startng pont for practtoners s to frst dentfy local parent groups who may beneft. For many organsatons ths wll nvolve revewng data held on the characterstcs of current servce users. Staff knowledge s also a useful source of nformaton.
Part of ths ntellgence gatherng must also ask the queston: whch groups of parents are not accessng or usng the servce at present? Ths wll help dentfy the parents who have been excluded as well as those who have tred and then rejected the servce, because they dd not lke what was offered.
Choosng a parentng programme that has been shown to work and meet the specfc needs of the target parent group s part of the soluton. Some organsatons have held local consultaton events or conducted surveys to fnd out about local parents’ needs. Ths has helped match the programme to the local populaton.
It s also mportant to consder how best to recrut the parents who can be ‘hard to reach’. Translatng leaflets and publcsng nformaton about the servce n local meda can help. However, the two most successful methods are:
Outreach: the most effectve means wll vary from area to area, but usually nvolves home vsts or gong to other places where parents can be found, such as the school gate or supermarkets.
Contact through local and community organisations: local voluntary and communty groups provde easy access to specfc groups of parents. For example, Hyde Sure Start n Tamesde worked wth a mosque to help recrut Muslm fathers. Other
practtoners have made contact wth ther local Youth Offendng Team to reach ther target audence,9 or worked wth a housng assocaton to recrut ‘vulnerable’ parents at rsk of homelessness.
9 meet ther needs. Other programmes prefer open recrutment. At present there s no evdence to suggest that ether approach s more or less nclusve.
5.2 Ensuring parents are informed about the programme
Maybe f you’ve somebody who’s very angry who’s on a parentng order, you may need to do addtonal preparatory vsts; that makes the pont of pckng them up and easng ther entry nto the group. But that’s what we would do wth anyone because sometmes people who are comng on a voluntary bass are stll ncredbly anxous about comng, even though t’s been a choce. So you just need to do dfferent preparaton, dependng on the needs of the ndvdual parent. (facltator, quoted n Barrett, 2007)
It s mportant to reassure parents that they wll not be labelled ‘a bad parent’ when they attend. It s also mportant for parents to gan more nformaton about the programme, such as how t wll be delvered and who wll delver t, to encourage them to attend. There are a number of ways ths can be done:
•Programme facltators can carry out outreach – ths helps to buld the trust that s crucal to successful programme delvery.
•Leaflets can be left n doctors’ surgeres, lbrares, ncludng toy lbrares, dstrbuted by health vstors and gven to schools – these can also be translated nto relevant communty languages.
•Parents who have already attended a parentng programme can be used to encourage others, for example, a vdeo of parents talkng about what motvated them and what they ganed can be shown to parents at dfferent events, such as parents’ evenngs.
Whle the cost of carryng out outreach may be a deterrent to some organsatons, t has proved to be one of the most successful methods of reachng parents who ether lack nformaton about a programme or who may have decded that parentng programmes are not for them. Spreadng nformaton by ‘word of mouth’ has
also proved partcularly effectve, but even the best programmes stll need to be ‘marketed’.
Better practice box 2
The possblty of commttng to a 12-week course may be a dauntng prospect for some parents. One soluton tred by a number of organsatons s to provde an ntroductory or taster sesson, for example runnng one part of the programme n a three-hour workshop format. Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communities
5.3 tackling practical barriers
We’ve crèche facltes and that’s been the best thng that we’ve ever done because t gves the parents a chance to have a break, and t also gves them a chance to talk about thngs that they may not have talked about n front of the chldren, and they’re not havng to watch the chldren all the tme, or we’re not havng to watch them. (facltator, quoted n Barrett, 2007)
Lack of chldcare s the most common practcal barrer to parents. Some
organsatons try to overcome ths by runnng programmes durng school hours and term tme. However, ths s of lttle help to parents who work or have very young chldren. Provdng good qualty chldcare s more lkely to make a bgger mpact on whether parents wll attend.
The choce of venue can also make a dfference because t has both a symbolc and practcal value. A communty settng rather than a clncal settng s less stgmatsng for parents attendng programmes. Addtonally, a famlar venue s more lkely to make them feel comfortable. Some practtoners advse aganst usng a local school because parents may assocate ths wth ther own negatve experences or those of ther chldren, but there s great value n ts famlarty.
Accessblty demands attenton: a venue that s only accessble va a set of stars wll exclude wheelchar users as well parents wth other moblty problems. Any audo-vsual equpment must also be sutable for the parents attendng the programme. For example an nducton loop system may be needed for parents who use hearng ads.
Sometmes a more complex stuaton wll arse because parents may be reluctant to use a partcular venue. For example some BME parents may refuse to go to a venue that s thought to be at the heart of an area where racal attacks are prevalent.
The delvery of a programme must also be tmed to maxmse parents’ partcpaton. Parents who work are less lkely to attend sessons durng the day, and few people are happy to attend sessons on Frday evenngs. Runnng varous local programmes at dfferent tmes should ensure that all those who need support are able to access t.
It s mportant to ask each group of parents about the specfc practcal barrers they face and to try to tackle these as far as possble. However, t s also mportant to be honest from the start f there are some thngs that cannot be done, for example, f t s not possble to pay for transport. Alternatve solutons may need to be sought.
Below s a useful checklst that can be used to assess whether the most common practcal barrers have been consdered and addressed:
•Is the venue and locaton acceptable?
•Wll transport be provded to and from the venue?
•Is the venue accessble for dsabled parents?
•Is chldcare provded?
•Have practcal arrangements been made to ensure the facltator can communcate effectvely wth all parents?
Gettng parents to attend parent educaton programmes requres:
•a better understandng of the target group of parents
•mplementng effectve methods for recrutng parents
6 solutions: ensuring parents keep coming to the
The key factors that nfluence whether parents wll keep comng to a programme week after week are:
•the content of the programmes and the way the materal s delvered – t s vtal these are talored to the needs of the ndvdual parents n the room
•creatng a welcomng and safe envronment
•engagng parents between sessons.
6.1 tailoring parenting programmes
Ths was … what the parents wanted … from sesson 1, dscplne was an area where parents felt they needed to know what t was that they were dong wrong, and how best to modfy exstng methods of dscplne – f not change them completely. (facltator explanng why more tme was spent on the postve dscplne component of a programme, quoted n Wldng and Barton, (2007)
Parentng programmes must be talored to the needs of the partcpants f they are to successfully engage people. It s mportant that facltators fnd out about parents’ needs at the begnnng as ths wll determne what nformaton s gven out as well as how t s provded. Introductory/taster sessons (see Better practce box 2) have proved to be a useful approach. They have also helped wth dentfyng and overcomng potental barrers to partcpaton.
When parents are asked about what helped them engage wth a parent educaton programme, they often menton the content of the programme and the flexble approach of the facltators. Good facltators enable parents to decde what they want to focus on and use methods that allow each parent to explore what s most feasble and practcal for them. They also modfy the delvery of the programme to reflect the specfc nterests of the parents on the course, for example to reflect the nterests of teenage parents.
However, there are lmts to ths flexblty. It s mportant that a programme s delvered n ts entrety f t s to have the outcomes requred. So, for example, parents may need to be encouraged to dscuss challengng and complex ssues, such as the dfferng treatment of grls and boys, or volence n the famly, even f they would prefer these subjects were avoded. Facltators therefore have a responsblty to ensure ther delvery remans fathful to the orgnal programme.
6.2 Creating a welcoming and safe environment
Very supportve staff … made you feel comfortable to talk, share experences and opnons. (parent, quoted n Wldng and Barton, 2007)
13 to them to decde. So we’re not just judgemental n that respect. Even f we don’t
agree we can say well, I certanly wouldn’t do thngs that way, but I have respect for what you’re sayng and f t’s not workng, how about tryng ths. (facltator, quoted n Barrett, 2007)
It s an essental part of the role of the facltator to create a welcomng and safe envronment for parents. Key features of good practce nclude:
•establshng and mantanng warm relatonshps
•lstenng to parents and communcatng clearly
•showng empathy and avodng beng judgemental
•establshng clear rules about confdentalty (see Better practce box 3)
•encouragng everyone to partcpate
•showng genune nterest n the lves of ndvduals and ther famles
•encouragng shared exploraton of parentng ssues, rather than appearng to be an expert.
Co-facltaton has proved to be a partcularly successful model of delvery. Two facltators are better able to share the load and manage the dynamcs of the group. They can deal more effectvely wth people’s emotonal responses and manage the parents who ether domnate dscussons or who are unwllng and unable to operate n a group settng. Ths can pose one of the bggest challenges to facltators: whether to exclude a parent from the programme. On some occasons t may be best to refer a parent to another agency that s able to provde one-to-one support.
Better practice box 3
Establshng a safe and supportve atmosphere s valued by parents and plays a part n parents’ decsons to stay wth a programme. An mportant element of ths s establshng rules about confdentalty. Ths s best done va a dscusson of ground rules at the frst sesson, and follow-up f necessary at subsequent meetngs. An honest statement of what facltators wll do f evdence of chld abuse s revealed must be part of ths ntal dscusson.
A smple but effectve way of creatng a welcomng envronment s to start or end a sesson wth a meal. Ths encourages parents to relax and to focus on the tasks, partcularly f they have not had tme to eat beforehand. For many parents, the provson of food s a demonstraton of the value beng attached to ther nvolvement.
6.3 Engaging parents between sessions
... just, sort of, say, you know, are you okay, and, and we just, you know, just
Parents can be kept engaged n a programme through regular contact from
facltators between sessons. Ths typcally nvolves checkng what parents thought of the prevous sesson and whether they are ready for the next one, as well as remndng them of the tme of the next sesson. Facltators sometmes make contact wth parents when they use other servces, or smply telephone or vst famles at home.
Contactng parents between sessons also enables any changes n ther crcumstances to come to lght. The facltator can then consder the mplcatons for ther
contnued partcpaton n the programme and whether anythng can be done to lmt dsrupton. Ensurng contnuty of partcpaton of all group members benefts everyone nvolved. As wth any form of groupwork, people droppng n and out wll adversely affect the group dynamc. Investng n ths contnued support between sessons s therefore hghly recommended.
7 solutions: ensuring parents benefit from parent
The course has gven me the confdence to make choces n how I brng up my chldren, stay wth them and be happy about them. (parent, quoted n Wldng and Barton)
The key factors that nfluence whether parents beneft from parent educaton programmes nclude:
•the sklls and knowledge of the facltators
•a facltatve (as opposed to a ddactc) approach.
7.1 the skills and knowledge of the facilitators
Groupwork for anybody, for most people s pretty dauntng. But for those [parents] who are not used to dong that, knd of, work and beng n that, knd of, stuaton, t’s very dauntng. So, I thnk a famlar face, someone they connect to as soon as they walk through the door, s gong to make t much easer for them to settle down, to come n the frst place and then to feel comfortable whle there. (facltator, quoted n Barrett (2007)
The skll of the facltator s central to parents gettng the best from parentng programmes and s made clear by the Natonal Occupatonal Standards for Work wth Parents. The establshment of the Natonal Academy for Parentng Practtoners has gven new mpetus to ensurng that those delverng parent educaton
programmes have the rght sklls and knowledge.
The requred sklls nclude beng able to:
•empower parents to dentfy ther own goals
•take a non-judgemental approach
•develop relatonshps wth parents
•understand and manage group-based learnng
•talor the programme to reflect parents’ needs.
The requred knowledge ncludes:
•recognsng and understandng the needs of dverse parent groups
•knowng what approaches work wth dfferent parent groups
•understandng effectve outreach
•knowng what other support s locally avalable.
parents. There s no conclusve evdence that ths makes much dfference, partcularly f the facltators are hghly sklled and knowledgeable. However, some prevously excluded parents mght feel they are more welcomed and shown more empathy by someone from ther own communty.
Better practice box 4
An area of contenton s how far we should go to matchng facltators wth parents. Some argue that ths s key n reachng, for example black parents, or fathers, or teenage parents. However, the evdence s not conclusve as parents often consder that facltators’ sklls and knowledge are more mportant than dentty. Parents who have been excluded from provson are more lkely to requre evdence that they wll feel welcome and for fathers ths may mean male facltators, and for black parents ths may mean facltators from a BME group. The postve role model that ths demonstrates may confer addtonal self-confdence.
7.1.1 Regular evaluation
Debrefng after each sesson s essental for facltators to know what went well and what could be mproved. It also helps to check that all parents are beng engaged effectvely and to take any necessary remedal acton.
Ths evaluaton s most effectve when t s followed up n supervson. Good qualty supervson should not only focus on the programme content, but also on the successes and shortcomngs of how the sessons were delvered. Supervsors need to be nvolved n dscussons about how to mprove delvery, as ths may requre further tranng/development to mprove the sklls and understandng of facltators.
7.2 Effective communication
Effectve communcaton requres talorng the delvery of parentng programmes to meet the needs of parents (see Better practce box 4). For example, parents wth learnng dsabltes are most lkely to beneft from programmes that are nteractve, practcal, nvolve repetton and make use of pctures17. In fact many parents wll beneft from ths approach. It also helps overcome one of the other man barrers to engagng parents – lteracy problems. The most effectve programmes now requre lttle or no readng ablty. Sometmes facltators read out all the wrtten materals, whle others use vdeo-based nformaton. Makng nformaton easy to access wll beneft everyone nvolved.
Better practice box 5
Some programmes use nterpreters or Brtsh Sgn Language nterpreters to communcate wth dfferent groups of parents. Whle ths s a soluton, the
Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communities programmes suggest that t s better to tran facltators who can delver the programme n the approprate language. Ths s the preferred opton because of the complexty of the subject matter, the need to regularly check parents’ understandng and the potental dffcultes caused by ntroducng another person (the nterpreter or sgner) nto the group dynamc.
7.2.1 a facilitative approach
Learnt a lot! Both about myself as a facltator and about parentng. Very valuable and empowerng experence – also at tmes dranng and emotonal. Defntely a worthwhle journey. (facltator, quoted n Wldng and Barton, 2007)
A facltatve (as opposed to a ddactc) approach s much more effectve n all forms of adult learnng and s therefore requred by the Natonal Occupatonal Standards. It has a number of advantages. Most mportantly, t helps parents to develop the parentng strateges that best sut them and ther famles. Ths s because parents are encouraged to dentfy ther own goals and empowered to fnd ther own solutons. A facltatve approach also elmnates some people’s concerns that they wll be ‘told what to do’, or that they wll not be gven help to solve ther partcular problem.
Facltatve technques also enable the group to functon well. Parents often gan as many valuable nsghts from each other as they do from the course materals. Parents may need encouragement from the facltator to contrbute and to be convnced that ther experence and ‘expertse’ s of value.
Facltators often report that they gan personally from delverng parentng programmes and ths helps them sustan the energy and enthusasm they need to contnue to run programmes. By lettng the partcpants know that they are learnng as much by ‘sharng the journey’, facltators also help to dstance themselves from the role of ‘expert’.
Evdence shows that parent educaton programmes can be very effectve n
supportng a wde and dverse range of parents n mprovng ther famly outcomes. By helpng parents develop protectve factors such as warm and responsve
relatonshps, and strateges for reducng factors that ncrease rsks, lke harsh and nconsstent dscplne, programmes can make a real dfference to the lves of famles and chldren.
1 NICE (Natonal Insttute for Health and Clncal Excellence) (2006) Parent-training/ education programmes in the management of children with conduct disorders, NICE Technology Gudance 106, London: NICE/SCIE (www.nce.org.uk/gudance/ndex. jsp?acton=byID&o=11584).
2 Famly and Parentng Insttute (2009) Follow-up work to support the implementation of NICE/SCIE guidance on parenting programmes, London: Socal Care Insttute for Excellence.
3 Wldng, J. and Barton, M. (2009) Evaluation of the Strengthening Families,
Strengthening Communities Programme 2005/6 and 2006/7, London: Race Equalty Foundaton (www.raceequaltyfoundaton.org.uk/sfsc/fles/sfsc-eval.pdf).
4 Eshel, N., Daelmans, B., Cabral de Mello, M. and Martnes, J. (2006) ‘Responsve parentng: nterventons and outcomes’, Bulletin of the World Health Organization, December, vol 84, no 12, pp 991–8.
5 Uttng, D., Montoro, H. and Ghate, D. (2007) Interventions for children at risk of developing antisocial personality disorder, Totnes: Polcy Research Bureau.
6 DES (Department for Educaton and Sklls) (2007) Every parent matters, London: DES. 7 Moran, P., Ghate, D. and van der Merwe, A. (2004) What works in parenting support? A
review of the international evidence, Research Report 574, London: Home Offce. 8 NICE (Natonal Insttute for Health and Clncal Excellence)/SCIE (Socal Care Insttute
for Excellence) (2006) Parent-training/education programmes in the management of children with conduct disorders, NICE Technology Gudance 106, London: NICE/SCIE (www.nce.org.uk/Gudance/TA102).
9 Barrett, H. (2008) Follow-up work to support implementation of the NICE/SCIE guidance on parenting programmes (CSDI), London: Socal Care Insttute for Excellence.
10 Smth, C. and Pugh, G. (1996) A survey of group-based parenting programmes, Socal Polcy Research 91, February, York: Joseph Rowntree Foundaton.
11 Wldng, J. and Barton, M. (2007) Evaluation of the Strengthening Families,
Strengthening Communities Programme 2004/5, London: Race Equalty Foundaton. 12 Lews, C. and Lamb, M.E. (2007) Understanding fatherhood, York: Joseph Rowntree
13 Page, J., Whttng, G. and Mclean, C. (2007) Engaging effectively with black and minority ethnic parents in children’s and parental services, DCSF Research Report DCSF-RR013, London: Department for Chldren, Schools and Famles.
14 Barlow, J., Shaw, R. and Stewart-Brown, S. n conjuncton wth the Race Equalty Unt (2004) Parenting programmes and minority ethnic families: Experiences and outcomes, London: Natonal Chldren’s Bureau.
15 Olsen, R. and Tyers, H. (2004) Think parent: Supporting disabled adults as parents, London: Famly and Parentng Insttute.
16 Booth, T. (2003) ‘Parents wth learnng dffcultes and the stolen generaton’, Journal of Learning Disabilities, no 7, pp 203–9.
18 Lndsay, G., Daves, H., Band, S., Cullen, M.A., Cullen, S., Strand, S., Hasluck, C., Evans, R. and Stewart-Brown, S. (2008) Parenting early intervention: Pathfinder evaluation, Research Report No DCSF-RW054, London: Department for Chldren, Schools and Famles.
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