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

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.