ChildLinks Issue 3: Parenting Support Programmes

Barnardos. (2019). ChildLinks Issue 3: Parenting Support Programmes.
Families in Ireland today face a wide range of issues that can have a negative impact on children’s development, wellbeing, learning, achievement, family function and peer relationships. Long-term risks ultimately include adult mental health and family welfare issues as well as issues with crime, employment and economic independence. Early interventions, including parenting support that is evidence-based and contextually and culturally meaningful, can be an effective. Often, however, families do not get the help they need or support does not come early enough to have a real impact, the scale of the need outweighs the service capacity available, or access and engagement is affected by complex referral pathways and stigma. A growing body of research emphasises the importance of investing in parenting and family support services, emphasising the transformative potential of prevention and early intervention in improving outcomes for children and families. In this issue of ChildLinks we look at parenting support programmes, which, to be successful, must be flexible to address the different needs of parents in different contexts. In the first article Dr Carmel Devaney and Dr Rosemary Crosse from UNESCO Child and Family Centre in NUI Galway outline the evolution of parenting support in Ireland as a policy imperative and the role of Tusla, the Child and Family Agency in parenting support. Also in this issue Rev Emerald-Jane Turner, an occupational therapist, trauma consultant, psychotherapist and interfaith minister in the UK, considers how humans can become overwhelmed due to trauma and the importance of calm and self-compassion. The other articles in this issue relate to Partnership with ParentsTM (PwP), an intensive, home-based, one-to-one parenting support programme for parents with multiple and complex needs, developed by Barnardos Ireland. Articles give an overview of the design and implementation of the programme and also evidence from a mixed method evaluation, which demonstrates how the unique design and implementation of PwP works well within the complex, real world, everyday lives of parents.