Supporting parents with a mental illness

Can supporting adults with a mental illness in their role as parents aid in their recovery? A free forum on Monday 25 July will examine this question as part of a trial of the Let's Talk About Children program.

Let’s Talk About Children aims to develop and rigorously trial a model of recovery for adults, who are also parents, with major mental health problems.

This four-year research project is funded by the Mental Illness Research Fund and is being conducted by a large partnership of research organisations and service providers including Monash University, The Bouverie Centre (La Trobe University) and the Parenting Research Centre.

The forum, to be held in Melbourne, will showcase organisational initiatives to embed Let’s Talk into service delivery and hear from speakers working in the sector. It will also share information on the progress of the trial across multiple sites in Victoria.

International guest speakers include:

  • Dr Brenda Gladstone: Assistant Professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, with research interests in child, youth and family mental health.
  • Dr Bente Weimand: researcher at the Akershus University Hospital in Norway, with research interests in families of people with a mental illness.

The forum will also feature parent and practitioner perspectives on parent recovery and early intervention in Victorian mental health services.

Find details and register for the forum.

New report: Perceptions of parenting

The Parenting Research Centre has recently released new research exploring how Australians conceptualise and understand effective parenting. The research offers key insights to guide how governments, researchers and service agencies frame communication about parenting support initiatives.

We commissioned the FrameWorks Institute to conduct research that maps the gaps between expert and public understandings of effective parenting. The report Perceptions of parenting paints a picture of the shared understandings, assumptions and patterns of reasoning that Australians draw upon to think about parenting.

Read more about this exciting new research. 

Review of case management models

We have reviewed the evidence for case management in services for vulnerable families in a 2015 report commissioned by the New South Wales Department of Family and Community Services (FACS).

In partnership with the University of Melbourne, we found some positive and promising findings relating to studies into case management delivered to families in the early parenting years, families with complex needs, and in services for children and youth.

A number of practices were identified in this review that appear to be central to case management including: assessment; coordination of and referral and linkage to services; case monitoring and planning; development of individualised plans; and provision of information, education support and direct services.

On the whole, however, the evidence related to case management was mixed as some studies were not sufficiently rigorous. This is not to suggest that case management lacks merit; it simply lacks definitive evidence of benefit at this point.

Our review, entitled Rapid evidence assessment of case management with vulnerable families, is being used to inform the FACS ongoing service reform and will be used to develop case management models and related support systems.

Read about more about the reform on the FACS website

Evidence for intensive family service models

The Parenting Research Centre – in partnership with the University of Melbourne – conducted a review to identify interventions that have been found to be effective for improving outcomes for families with a range of identified vulnerabilities.

Our findings are helping the New South Wales Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) select interventions that may be effective for improving outcomes in families with a range of identified vulnerabilities, such as substance misuse, mental health problems, maltreating behaviours, and exposure to domestic and family violence.

The 2015 review identified suitable interventions that could be rated (from Emerging to Well Supported) and then assessed the interventions for common elements. Our review found that two interventions were rated Well Supported by the evidence and 18 were rated Supported. A further nine interventions were rated Promising and 16 were rated Emerging.

We also found a number of common elements across a group of interventions. Common elements in the intervention content included: parenting education or training or parenting skills; child/youth behaviour; behaviour change and behaviour management; parent-child relationships; communication and interactions.

The report, entitled Review of the evidence for intensive family service models, was commissioned to help inform a series of reforms in child and family services that cover prevention, early intervention, intensive, and community programs.

Go to the FACS website to download the report and appendices (listed in Research Papers section). 

Reconciliation action plan 2016

We are proud to announce that our Reconciliation action plan 2016 has been endorsed by Reconciliation Australia. The plan provides a framework for the Parenting Research Centre to realise our vision for reconciliation.

We are committed to the reconciliation process and ensuring that our work and the development of our organisation is informed by a deeper understanding and knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s culture and history. Our Reconciliation action plan 2016 provides a framework of practical activities that we will engage in to build relationships, respect and opportunities with the Indigenous people of this country.

Download our Reconciliation action plan