Evidence briefs produced for The Benevolent Society

The Benevolent Society has recently published five evidence briefs produced by the Parenting Research Centre.

Findings confirm that investment in parenting and family support in the early years is worthwhile, especially to developmentally vulnerable children. In particular, findings for parenting and family support included: strong evidence that it improves problematic child behaviour such as aggression and disruptive behaviour; and good evidence that it improves the social, cognitive, academic and receptive and expressive language outcomes for children.

Home visiting by professionals was found to have some benefit for children’s social, emotional and cognitive development.

Policymakers and agency leaders can access the briefs to inform decisions related to the use of parenting, family support and home-visiting programs. The briefs describe the evidence for these programs improving several child learning and development outcomes, as well as the role of parent involvement in interventions.

Our overall process involved summarising, evaluating and translating evidence into meaningful and usable information.

The brief on supported playgroups provides an overview of recent research sourced through a targeted literature search. The other four briefs drew on existing systematic reviews, which provide the most comprehensive assessment of the evidence.

Evidence brief topics

Read more about the briefs on The Benevolent Society website.

Early Years: one-day conference

Parenting Research Centre CEO, Warren Cann, will present at the What Does It Take - Early Years Conference at St Kilda Town Hall (Melbourne) on Friday 18 March 2016.

Warren will be presenting a session on collaborative partnerships. He will address two key questions: How do we ensure that we are setting goals in collaboration with the family? Do we know that this really is the family’s goal and that they are committed to it?

Presented by Inner Middle Southern Metropolitan Region local government authorities (Melbourne), the conference will focus on working with families and children.

Attendance is open to all professionals working in the health, care and education sectors.

New resources on stepfamilies and blended families

Raising Children Network has launched new resources to help parents in stepfamilies and blended families navigate the unique circumstances they encounter when raising children.
The new scientifically-based resources tackle a range of topics, including:

  • how to help children and teens adjust to separation and divorce
  • what to expect of children’s feelings and behaviour when moving into a blended family home
  • tips on how to discipline a step-child
  • welcoming a new baby in a blended family.

These free resources can be found at raisingchildren.net.au/stepfamilies

New video on implementation report for Royal Commission

Parenting Research Centre Director, Annette Michaux, discusses findings from our report: Implementation of recommendations arising from previous inquiries of relevance to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. She highlights key findings related to:

  • barriers to implementation
  • enablers of implementation
  • importance of leadership
  • importance of stakeholder engagement.

See the video on our website or read the full report.

SafeCare: first Australian practitioner accredited

We are delighted to announce that Nicole Miller is the first practitioner in Australia to become an accredited SafeCare provider. Nicole works for a community-based sexual assault counselling service and participated in the training in New South Wales (NSW).

Nicole is one of 24 practitioners in NSW who began SafeCare training in 2015 with experts from the National SafeCare Training and Research Center (NSTRC), Georgia State University.

SafeCare is an evidence-based parenting program that has been shown to reduce child abuse and neglect. It takes place over 18 sessions and targets three skills: positive parenting, home safety and child health.  The Parenting Research Centre facilitated the program’s adaption to the Australian context and is supporting the implementation.

SafeCare uses the explain-model-practice-feedback model to help practitioners teach the behaviours, practise them with parents and then give feedback. Nicole feels that she can now use her skills with other families. “I saw an immediate shift in parents’ responses. Parents loved the skills being practiced before having a go themselves. Children are safer as their parents now have the knowledge and skills.”

The training also involves regular coaching with the SafeCare team. Nicole was impressed with the level of support and the regular communication, saying, “The SafeCare experts were very prompt with answers. It was good to know that a coach was always there if I had a concern or a question.”

According to Nicole, SafeCare resources are clear and easy to read, with tool kits that help workers keep on track and help parents make better decisions around the health of their children.

Funded by New South Wales Government Department of Family and Community Service.

Read more about our SafeCare work.