Skill-building program a beacon for vulnerable families

An evidence-based parenting program being piloted in Australia through the NSW Department of Family and Community Services is showing great potential in keeping vulnerable families together.

SafeCare® was developed a decade ago by the National SafeCare Training & Research Center, Georgia State University, and has been shown to reduce child neglect and harm by 26 per cent. It is now being piloted in seven sites across NSW. The Parenting Research Centre is working with the Department and trial sites to implement the program, which has already been adopted in the US, Britain, Canada, Spain and Israel.

More than 60 NSW families have already taken part in the Blacktown, Nepean and Cumberland areas of Sydney.

Building skills

“SafeCare® is not just about giving advice. It’s about teaching specific skills to address parenting challenges and having the support to master a skill,” said Annette Michaux, a Director at the Parenting Research Centre.

"It really has potential to keep families together safely and help parents with quite complex needs. Raising children is a skill which needs to be learned. It doesn't just come naturally and for some of us learning that skill is a little bit harder.”

Ms Michaux said the program was backed by rigorous research and had been tested over many years with promising results for families where children were at risk of child abuse and neglect.

One-on-one parent interaction

SafeCare® trains practitioners to support parents one-on-one in enhancing their positive interactions with children, keeping their homes safe and improving their children’s health.

Over the past year we began working with the National SafeCare Training & Research Centre in the US to become an accredited SafeCare training and coaching organisation as part of the NSW implementation of SafeCare. Once our staff are accredited, these agencies will be able to access local, high-quality SafeCare coaching support.