Parenting programs present an opportunity to parents for building upon existing strengths to further develop their confidence, skills and knowledge to meet their child’s needs and cope with parenting challenges. In themselves they will not ensure the safety and wellbeing of a child or young person. Parenting programs should be seen as one aspect of a plan of support, not a plan in itself. The agreement of a parent to enrol a parenting program should not be reasoning for there not being a lead professional involved.
Whether the plan is under Early Help, Child in Need or Child Protection a parenting program should be matched to the desired outcome for the child or young person. Which, in turn, will be informed by an assessment that clearly provides behavioural detail of family functioning, and, what needs to change.
As part of a plan parenting programs can provide support, guidance and knowledge. Attending a parenting program may not result in change for a number of reasons, such as willingness, capacity and ability, or practical barriers in daily life. Therefore, consideration must be given to each family’s situation in order to not set families up to fail.
If you have identified a parenting program that would benefit a child or young person and their parent(s) some considerations should be given to:
Manchester’s Early Help Service Parenting Programs
Need more information?
Speak with a Senior Parenting Practitioner:
0161 219 6561
The Incredible Years School Age Programme (Webster Stratton)
The Nurture Programme
Parents as Partners (PasP)
Strengthening Families Strengthening Communities (SFSC)
What makes a good referral to a parenting program?
Is the parent aware of the program and what, exactly is to be covered? Of the factors that can undermine an individual’s participation in a group is their understanding of the purpose of the group and why they are attending. Therefore having a clear understanding of the group and its purpose is crucial. Not only to promote participation, also to ensure the right group is being accessed according to the identified parenting challenge and the intended outcomes for the parent and child.
Is it clearly understood what behaviours are to change? Clarity of specific behaviours and how parents are currently managing these is essential. Terms like ‘parenting concerns’ and ‘routines and boundaries’ do not give enough understanding to offer the most appropriate intervention.
Where is the proposed participant on the cycle of change? If the participant is not open to learning and making change, it is less likely they will be invested in learning and participating in the group. Although someone may be anxious or unsure about attending a group, if they have a clear understanding of the purpose of the group and have set their own goals this may increase their motivation. Therefore, it is suggested that prior to referral there is a discussion with potential participants (think joint mapping of what is working well?, what we are worried about? and, what needs to change? Consideration should be given to the practical barriers / challenges (complicating factors) to attending (I.e., work schedule, child care commitments, conflicting appointments, etc.).
What else is going on? It is helpful for group facilitators to have an understanding of the context in which a participant is going to be attending a parenting group. For example, what type of plan is currently in place around the child and associated timeframes. Are there any risk factors to be aware of in terms of the safety of the participant or the children? How will the family network be supporting the family while the program is being attended?
Developed by: Stephen Brock, M.S.W., Social Work Consultant. email@example.com
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