Participation in parenting

The latest material added to the Australian Institute of Family Studies library database is displayed, up to a maximum of 30 items. Where available online, a link to the document is provided. Many items can be borrowed from the Institute's library via the Interlibrary loan system.

See more resources on Participation in parenting in the AIFS library catalogue

Evaluating practitioner training to improve competencies and organizational practices for engaging fathers in parenting interventions.

Burn M, Tully L, Jiang Y, Piotrowska P, Collins D, Sargeant K, Hawes D, Moul C, Lenroot R, Frick P, Anderson V, Kimonis E and Dadds M
Child Psychiatry and Human Development v. 49 no. 1 Feb 2018: 230-244
Fathers are underrepresented in parenting interventions, and research has indicated that practitioner and organisational factors that may play a role. This article compares the impact of two training programs - one online, one face to face - on improving practitioner competencies and organisational practices for engaging fathers. The interventions were assessed pre-training, post-training, and after 2 months. Participants included 589 psychologists, social workers, counsellors, and other practitioners working in private, government, and non-government organisations from across Australia. Overall, the interventions produced significant improvements in several competencies and practices and reported rate of father engagement. Though both training formats were well-received, the benefits from the online format were not maintained longer term.

A pilot efficacy study of Parents Building Solutions : a universal parenting program using co-design and strength-based approaches.

Morris H, O'Connor A, Cummins J, Valentine C, Dwyer A, Goodyear M and Skouteris H
Children and Youth Services Review v. 105 Oct 2019: Article 104447
This article looks at the impact of Parents Building Solutions (PBS), a universal parenting program that features co-design with parents about the program's agenda and content. It presents findings of an evaluation across 3 sites in Melbourne, Victoria, investigating the program's impact on parenting quality, confidence, self-efficacy, understanding of child development, and responses to children's behaviour. It also examined the impact of the co-design methodology on parent engagement and attrition. The evaluation found the program had high attendance rates and a significant impact on pre-test measures.

Perspectives on ParentWorks : learnings from the development and national roll-out of a self-directed online parenting intervention.

Collins D, Tully L, Piotrowska P, Hawes D and Dadds M
Internet Interventions v. 15 Mar 2019: 52-59
'ParentWorks' is an online, free, self-directed, universal parenting program aimed at parents who have general concerns about parenting and child behaviour. This article highlights learnings from the design, development, and implementation of the program. It discusses website design, course content, program features, device accessibility, design features to mimic face-to-face programs, and program dropout. The implications for developing future online programs is then discussed.

Systematic review of the impact of coparenting interventions on paternal coparenting behaviour.

Pilkington P, Rominov H, Brown H and Dennis C
Journal of Advanced Nursing v. 75 no. 1 Jan 2019: 17-29
This article evaluates the effectiveness of coparenting interventions aimed at fathers. It presents the findings of a systematic review of the evidence on the effectiveness of interventions aimed at increasing fathers' involvement in parenting and support for their partner. The findings highlight the need for further - and better quality - research.

Enhancing father engagement in parenting programs : translating research into practice recommendations.

Lechowicz M, Jiang Y, Tully L, Burn M, Collins D, Hawes D, Lenroot R, Anderson V, Doyle F, Piotrowska P, Frick P, Moul C, Kimonis E and Dadds M
Australian Psychologist v. 54 no. 2 Apr 2019: 83-89
This article identifies policy and practice issues in engaging fathers in parenting interventions, based on previous review of the literature. The article presents six broad policy and practice recommendations to enhance father engagement: engaging fathers as part of the parenting team; avoiding a deficit model of fathering; increasing awareness of parenting interventions for fathers; ensuring father?inclusive content and delivery of parenting interventions; increasing father engagement practices at the organisational and service level; and increasing professional training regarding father engagement. This study is part of a broader project on fathers' needs and preferences in parenting interventions.

Keeping parents involved : predicting attrition in a self-directed, online program for childhood conduct problems.

Dadds M, Sicouri G, Piotrowska P, Collins D, Hawes D, Moul C, Lenroot R, Frick P, Anderson V, Kimonis E and Tully L
Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology 1 Aug 2018: Advance online publication
This article investigates what leads to drop out from a free, universal, online parenting program in Australia. 'ParentWorks' is a self-directed and 'father-friendly' program aimed at parents who had general concerns about parenting and child behaviour. 2,967 parents registered for participation following a national media campaign, but there was a steady loss of participants throughout the course - only 218 parents completed the postintervention questionnaire. The article examines the parent and child characteristics of those who completed the program in full, who completed some of the course but then either deliberately discontinued or did not complete the postintervention questionnaire, or who registered but then didn't complete any of the course. The findings showed that single parents and fathers had a relatively high participation rate, and that though the dropout rate is very high, self-directed online programs provide an effective and low cost intervention for those parents who do persist and complete the program.

Toward father-friendly parenting interventions : a qualitative study.

Sicouri G, Tully L, Collins D, Burn M, Sargeant K, Frick P, Anderson V, Hawes D, Kimonis E, Moul C, Lenroot R and Dadds M
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy v. 39 no. 2 Jun 2018: 218-231
This article adds to what is known about fathers' low rates of participation in parenting interventions. It presents the findings of focus groups held with 41 fathers recruited from family service organisations in New South Wales and Queensland, regarding the barriers to engagement and their preferences for the content and delivery of interventions. Fathers' belief that parenting interventions are predominantly mother-focused, combined with common beliefs around gender roles in parenting and help-seeking, highlight the need for targeted promotion and recruitment.

What influences parental engagement in early intervention? Parent, program and community predictors of enrolment, retention and involvement.

Hackworth N, Matthews J, Westrupp E, Nguyen C, Phan T, Scicluna A, Cann W, Berthelsen D, Bennetts S and Nicholson J
Prevention Science v. 19 no. 7 Oct 2018: 880-893
It is thought that poor uptake and high attrition play a role in why parenting interventions have had only modest impacts. This article adds to what is known about the factors that enhance or impede engagement. It investigates the impact of individual, program, and community contextual factors on parent engagement with 'smalltalk', a program in Victoria with home-based and community-based components to help disadvantaged parents provide an enriched home learning environment for infants and toddlers. It identifies factors that predict involvement, retention, and active involvement across the components.

Engaging men as fathers : how gender influences men's involvement in Australian family health services.

Pfitzner N, Humphreys C and Hegarty K
Journal of Family Issues v. 39 no. 16 2018: 3956-3985
Despite the modern ideals of 'involved fatherhood' and shared caregiving, parenting services and programs continue to be oriented toward mothers rather than mothers and fathers as co-parents. This article investigates how gender impacts on service providers' engagement with new fathers, drawing on a case study of the Baby Makes 3 respectful relationships program. This 3-week pilot program is being trialled in Victoria by Maternal and Child Health Services, as part of their suite of free programs offered to all new, first time parents. It is a universal intervention targeting fathers in health settings and aims to prevent intimate partner violence by promoting equal and respectful relationships between men and women during the transition to parenthood. The article reports on staff and father views on the gender-related factors that shape men's father identities, behaviours, and decisions to participate, and contends that valuing men's transition to fatherhood might not only increase father engagement in parenting support services, but also their participation in care work.

'A community that values its children will cherish their parents' : family inclusion in child protection systems.

Cocks J
24 October 2018
This webinar will discuss research on international family inclusion initiatives in child welfare and how they can be applied in Australia. Family inclusion is increasingly recognised as crucial to achieving child protection policy goals across Australian jurisdictions, including the urgent need to support permanency for children and young people safely at home and increase their numbers. We know from research and practice that many Australian families with an experience of the child protection system gravely distrust it, and continue to experience exclusion from child protection processes and their children's lives. This webinar will present findings from a Churchill Fellowship project completed in 2018 that explored best practice and research evidence on family inclusion initiatives in the USA, Canada, Norway and the UK. The webinar will challenge dichotomised thinking about parents and children in child protection, and argue for a reconceptualisation of family inclusion that recognises and addresses the social context of child removal. It will also discuss the evidence base for practical innovations in family-inclusive practice in three areas, including parent-to-parent peer work, a greater focus on carer and parent relationships, and parent leadership.

Optimising child outcomes from parenting interventions : fathers' experiences, preferences and barriers to participation.

Tully L, Collins D, Piotrowska P, Mairet K, Hawes D, Moul C, Lenroot R, Frick P, Anderson V, Kimonis E and Dadds M
Child Psychiatry and Human Development v. 49 no. 1 Feb 2018: 109-122
This article adds to the research on fathers' needs and preferences in parenting interventions, from the perspective of practitioners. A survey was conducted with 210 practitioners involved in delivering parenting interventions, regarding observed rates of father attendance, barriers to engagement, organisational support for father-inclusive practice, training in father engagement, and practitioner competence and experience. Though the practitioners reported high levels of confidence, few had ever taken part in specialised training and reported father attendance rates were low.

Children and young people in separated families: family law system experiences and needs

Carson R, Dunstan E, Dunstan J and Roopani D
Melbourne : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2018.
This report was commissioned to learn more about children and young people's experiences of the family law system during parental separation and how the system could better meet their needs. 61 children and young people aged 10-17 years old were interviewed, with 47 parents also helping with background information. The findings provide rich insights into the experiences and needs of children and young people, as well as the pathways used to resolve family law matters. Topics include: issues important to children and young people in making post-separation parenting arrangements, valued supports in dealing with parental separation, flexibility and changes in parenting arrangements, building post-separation relationships with parents, meaningful participation in decision making, experiences of the family law system, acknowledgement of their views and experiences, services that supported participation in decision making, and professional services and support considered effective by children and young people.

Mothers, fathers, and parental systems : a conceptual model of parental engagement in programmes for child mental health - Connect, Attend, Participate, Enact (CAPE).

Piotrowska P, Tully L, Lenroot R, Kimonis E, Hawes D, Moul C, Frick P, Anderson V and Dadds M
Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review v. 20 no. 2 2017: 146-161
This article presents a conceptual model of parental engagement in parenting programmes: the CAPE model - Connect, Attend, Participate, Enact. The model provides a framework for considering parent engagement as well as associated facilitators and mechanisms of parenting change. The article discusses the development of the model, how it might be tested, and the importance of engaging fathers in parenting programmes.

Engagement of birth parents involved in the child protection system: a scoping review of frameworks, policies, and practice guides/ Parenting Research Centre.

Parenting Research Centre, New South Wales. Dept. of Family and Community Services
East Melbourne, Vic. : Parenting Research Centre, 2017.
This report reviews the Australian and international literature on engaging parents in the child protection system. It identifies frameworks, policies, and practice models for engaging parents at any point during involvement with child protection services, including intake, assessment, case planning, out-of-home care, restoration, and post-restoration. It also investigates barriers to engagement and engaging specific populations, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families, culturally and linguistically diverse families, and clients who are perpetrators of domestic and family violence. This report was commissioned by the New South Wales Department of Family and Community Services and includes a section on the factors to consider when implementing strategies in the New South Wales context. Coupled with evidence-based interventions, implementing an engagement model may result in improved circumstances for children and families.

Optimising child outcomes from parenting interventions : fathers' experiences, preferences and barriers to participation.

Tully L, Piotrowska P, Collins D, Mairet K, Black N, Kimonis E, Hawes D, Moul C, Lenroot R, Frick P, Anderson V and Dadds M
BMC Public Health v. 17 2017: Article 550
This article adds to the research on fathers' needs and preferences in parenting interventions. A survey was conducted with 1,001 Australian fathers regarding barriers to participation, aspects of parenting interventions seen as important, preferred delivery formats, content of interest, any concerns about their child's behaviour, previous participation in a parenting intervention or treatment for child behaviour problems, helpfulness and relevance of that program, factors in their decision to participate in a parenting program, involvement in child rearing, and their marital status and child's living arrangements. The article also looked at the association between reported child externalising behaviour problems and the fathers' views on programs and participation.

Building fathering competencies through a universal, soft-entry, early intervention and prevention service.

Macfarlane K, Hayes A, Lakhani A and Hodgson G
Children Australia v. 42 no. 4 Dec 2017: 248-255
This article explores the impact of a playgroup aimed at fathers in south-east Queensland. The Dad's Playgroup is run as part of Communities for Children Logan and though facilitated by two male workers is not organised in a particular way. Drawing on interviews with 6 of the fathers, the article looks at the impact on fathers and their partners, the changes that occurred for parents and children, whether needs were met, and how the playgroup functions as a support service for fathers.

Framing messages to engage fathers in the first 1000 days.

Fletcher R, StGeorge J and May C
3 August 2017
Families do best when parents act as a team in forming a strong connection to their new baby, and this is exactly what happens in many families. In others, the stresses of the new relationship and the demands of the new baby make for less healthy outcomes. Traditionally, services that provide support to new parents have targeted mothers - and engaging fathers has been a challenge. With mounting evidence of fathers' contribution to children's development, however, and the recognition of the importance of parenting partnerships in children's wellbeing, services have started to focus on better ways to engage fathers. This webinar will provide a range of examples that illustrate effective messaging with fathers, including video-feedback, group work, SMS texts and father-child play. Strategies for successful messaging, including topics, style and mode of delivery, will also be covered.

Family engagement: partnering with families to improve child welfare outcomes

Child Welfare Information Gateway (U.S.), United States. Children's Bureau
Washington, DC : Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2016.
"Engaging families in the casework process promotes the safety, permanency, and well-being of children and families in the child welfare system and is central to successful practice. Effective family engagement occurs when child welfare practitioners actively collaborate and partner with family members throughout their involvement with the child welfare system, recognizing them as the experts on their respective situations and empowering them in the process. This bulletin provides an overview of the foundational elements of the family engagement approach, followed by strategies and promising practices for implementing this approach at the case level, peer level, and systems level."

Engaging communities : what's involved and how it's done.

West S, Moore T and Sayer A
17 May 2016
This webinar will arm professionals with a solid understanding of what community engagement involves, how it's done, and how it can improve outcomes for children and families. To give participants a sense of how this looks in practice, an example of successful community engagement in Tasmania will be presented. Angela Sayer, a parent who was actively involved in the co-design of her local Child and Family Centre, will describe her experiences and offer insights for professionals seeking to authentically engage parents in the design and delivery of services. The presenters have also published a paper on this matter, 'Community engagement: A key strategy for improving outcomes for Australian families.'

Engagement and participation of men in mediation.

Britton K and Johnson C
Journal of Family Studies v. 22 no. 1 Apr 2016: 20-31
Following the Family Law Amendment (Shared Care Responsibility) Act 2006, Family Relationship Centres (FRCs) were established to offer a range of programs to families, including mediation, following separation. We carried out a qualitative study funded by a non-government organisation which investigated the effectiveness of Parenting Plans. Twenty-three (12 females and 11 males) separated/divorced parents participated in semi-structured interviews conducted in the Perth metropolitan area and a regional area in Western Australia. The focus of this paper is a critical case analysis of one man's experience of the mediation process. Our aim is to contribute to this developing issue through the inclusion of some of the challenges for men in engaging in the mediation process more actively. These include: an examination of the influence of socio-political factors on mediation services; some men's reluctance in seeking help; and recent understandings of men's grief following separation that can have direct application to participation in mediation. We maintain that that this knowledge can inform mediators' education and training through supervision. At a broader level, the inclusion of this critical case analysis and its theoretical explanations has the potential, in some cases, to contribute to more meaningful post-separation relationships for all family members.

Approaches to father engagement and fathers' experiences in home visiting programs

Sandstrom H
Washington, D.C. : Urban Institute, 2015.
Home visiting programs have traditionally targeted pregnant women and mothers, but there is growing recognition of the role of fathers and the need to engage men in services too. The United States the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation commissioned this study to understand how home visiting programs engage fathers, the experiences of fathers in such programs, and the perceived benefits of fathers' participation. Site visits were conducted with 5 programs targeting at risk families, learning more about the methods and approaches used to encourage father engagement, the recruitment and engagement strategies used, types of fathers who are considered hardest to engage, the role of mothers in facilitating or discouraging engagement, and fathers' motivations for participating. The report presents the findings, the lessons learned, and the recommendations of staff and parents for improving engagement.

Parenting in America: outlook, worries, aspirations are strongly linked to financial situation

Pew Research Center
Washington, D.C. : Pew Research Centre, 2015.
This report presents findings from a survey of 1,807 American parents on various parenting issues, to explore the changing family circumstances in which children are raised and how parents' these views are affected by their financial situation. The survey asked about how good a job they're doing, approaches to parenting, childrne's involvement in extracurricular activities, screen time, supervision and unsupervised play, use of physical punishment, families' living circumstances, parenting values, child care arrangements, their concerns and worries for their children, and their involvement in their children?s education.

Father-inclusive practice in a family center : an Australian perspective.

Fletcher R, StGeorge J, May C, Hartman D and King A
Zero to three v. 35 no. 5 May 2016: 60-67
This article describes the work and development of the Family Action Centre, based at the University of Newcastle in Australia. The Centre aims to address the need for improved father-inclusive practice through research, program development, and disseminating good practice examples.

Engaging Aboriginal fathers.

Stuart G, May C and Hammond C
Developing Practice: The Child, Youth and Family Work Journal no. 42 Aug 2015: 4-17
To help address the limited research on how services can engage with Aboriginal fathers in Australia, focus groups were held in 2010 with family, health, and community workers in the Hunter Region of New South Wales. This article summarises the findings - including the challenges the workers' faced and the strategies they used - and discusses the implications for practice.

Using father preference data to increase father engagement in evidence-based parenting programs.

Frank T, Keown L, Dittman C and Sanders M
Journal of Child and Family Studies v. 24 no. 4 Apr 2015: 937-947
This article explores New Zealand fathers' knowledge and experience with parenting programs, and their preferences for program content, features, and delivery methods. Surveys were conducted with 161 fathers, regarding also the prevalence of perceived child behavioral and emotional difficulties, parenting risk and protective factors, and fathers' parenting confidence.

Evaluation of the 'Supporting Parents - Developing Children' Project: final report

Hopkins L
Broadmeadows, Vic. : Hume City Council, 2014.
The City of Hume, in a largely disadvantaged region of metropolitan Victoria, established The 'Supporting Parents - Developing Children' (SPDC) Project to bring about greater social inclusion and cohesion for migrant and refugee families in the area. It aimed to improve language, literacy, and learning outcomes for isolated migrant mothers and their children through the development of Community Hubs, playgroups, bilingual storytimes, and mother and child English language programs. The project ran from 1 July 2011-30 June 2014. This is the final report of the evaluation of the project, and builds upon the earlier interim reports. Outcomes are assessed for participation, social cohesion, training pathways, child development, service integration, and satisfaction. Notably, the project's Community Hub model, which was piloted in southern Hume, has led to the establishment of the National Community Hubs program.

Building better relationships - Family Inclusion Strategies Hunter: outcomes of the Family Inclusion Practice Forum held on 18 July 2014

Cocks J
Callaghan, NSW : The Family Action Centre, University of Newcastle, 2014.
Family Inclusion Strategies Hunter (FISH) is a group of practitioners and family members involved in the child protection and out of home care service system in the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales - an area with the highest rate of children and young people in out of home care in the state. This group believes in the key task for workers to build respectful relationships with parents, and that family inclusion is an important part of child protection. This paper describes the development of the FISH group and the planning, running and outcomes of their first ever family inclusion practice forum, held in July 2014.

Engaging fathers: evidence review

Fletcher R, May C, StGeorge J, Stoker L and Oshan M
Canberra : Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth, 2014.
Research has shown the important role of fathers for children's successful development, and professionals and policy makers are increasingly recognising the need to engage fathers in child and family services. This report reviews the international evidence on the knowledge and implementation support that is mostly likely to be effective in developing father-inclusive practice. Topics include facilitators and barriers to father-inclusive practice and lessons from evaluation studies.

Practitioner review : engaging fathers - recommendations for a game change in parenting interventions based on a systematic review of the global evidence.

Panter-Brick C, Burgess A, Eggerman M, McAllister F, Pruett K and Leckman J
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry v. 55 no. 11 Nov 2014: 1187-1212
This article reviews the Australian and international literature on parenting interventions that involve fathers. Despite robust evidence of fathers' impact on families, father engagement is one of the least explored and articulated aspects of parenting interventions. Similarly, this literature review finds limited evidence on fathers, due to the way that interventions are currently designed, delivered, and evaluated. However, the article identifies key barriers to engaging fathers in parenting programs, and makes recommendations for intervention and evaluation design.

The Stronger Families in Australia (SFIA) Study : Phase 2

Edwards B, Mullan K, Katz I and Higgins D
Melbourne, Vic. : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2014.
This report presents a medium- to long-term evaluation of the Communities for Children (CfC) initiative. This Australian Government initiative aims to improve services for young children and their families and the communities they grow up in. The evaluation, known as the Stronger Families in Australia (SFIA) study, looks at the impact of CfC on child, family, and community outcomes. Phase 1 of the evaluation, published in 2009, found a small but positive impact of the initiative. This new report presents findings from Phase 2 of the study, which followed up on 1,927 of the original study families, with the children now aged from 8-10 years old. Phase 2 also introduced a new cohort of 1,800 families and four new 'contrast' sites.
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