Planning - Positive Parenting
A number of positive parenting programs have been shown to be effective in Australia.
Select an evidence-based Positive Parenting activity
Existing or new Positive parenting activity?
Triple P is aimed at parents of children with behavioural problems aged 2–12 years. Triple P is a widely implemented Australian program, with a variety of existing modes of delivery. The program aims to prevent behavioural, emotional and developmental problems in children by enhancing the knowledge, skills and confidence of parents. There is strong evidence of effectiveness for Triple P’s various delivery modes, including individual and group, standard and enhanced.
Stepping Stones is a variation of Triple P for parents of children aged 2–12 years with a disability and behavioural problems. It has strong evidence of effectiveness.
There are a number of other programs also supported (to varying degrees) by evidence. See the Parenting Research Centre’s Evidence review: An analysis of the evidence for parenting programs in Australia.
We encourage Local Drug Action Teams (LDATs) to link community organisations with existing positive parenting activities that have been shown to work.
Be mindful that the way that positive parenting programs are delivered has an impact on desired outcomes. When reviewing existing parenting programs, consider Critical considerations for the delivery of positive parenting programs (below).
Review the paragraph Determine resources required and Map your steps for insights into what is required when supporting communities to develop positive parenting activities.
Critical considerations for the delivery of positive parenting activities
Delivering evidence-informed activities is complex and challenging. The quality of your team’s delivery will impact the desired outcomes. This means that programs, even effective ones, may not produce the desired effects for parents and children if they’re not delivered appropriately.
Attention to how a program is delivered or implemented is as important as what is delivered when it comes to your activity’s outcomes.
The Parenting Research Centre have identified a number of important aspects that should be considered when selecting an evidence-based program to deliver to families. These considerations are presented in the table below Implementation considerations for parenting programs. 
|Appropriateness of project aims and outcomes||• Is the program based on a clearly defined theory of change? • Are there clear program aims? • Are there clear intended outcomes of the program that match your desired outcomes?|
|Targeted participants||• Is the target population of the program identified and does it match our intended target population? • What are the eligibility requirements of participants in your project (e.g. the age of ‘parents’ or children, type of person, presenting problem, gender)?|
|Delivery setting||• What are your project delivery setting options (e.g. group, individual, self-administered, home-based, centre-based)? • Is there flexibility in delivery modes that suit our service context?|
|Costs||• What are the costs to purchase the program (if applicable)? • What are the costs to train staff in the program? • Are there ongoing costs associated with purchasing manuals and technical assistance (e.g. coaching and supervision of staff)? • What are the costs to implement the program with families (in terms of staff time, resources to deliver, travel cost to agency, travel cost to families, costs to families in terms of time off work and childcare)?|
|Accessibility||• Are the materials, trainers and experts available to provide technical assistance (i.e. training, coaching and supervision) to staff who will deliver the program? • Is the program developer accessible for support during implementation of it as part of your project? • Does the program come with adequate supporting documentation? For instance, are the content and methods of the program well documented (e.g. in provider training courses and user manuals); are the content and methods standardised to control quality of service delivery? • Is the program content and materials suited to the professionals delivering it, or the parents you are working with (e.g. the reading level of materials, amount of text to read or write, use of complex terminology)?|
|Technical assistance required||• What are staff training needs (e.g. frequency, duration, location, cost)? • What amount of ongoing technical assistance is required (including top-up training, coaching or supervision)?|
|Ensuring quality delivery||• How will you ensure fidelity or quality assurance in terms of the delivery of the activity’s components to families? That is, how well do practitioners need to demonstrate use of the program either during training or while they are working with families (e.g. are there tests, checklists or observations that they need to perform during training; are there certain things they need to do to demonstrate to trainers that they are using the program correctly, such as video-taped sessions, diaries, checklists about their skills or use of the program with families)? • Are there certain program components that must be delivered to families? That is, if they don’t do X, they are not actually using the program as intended. • What are the program dosage or quantity requirements for effective results (i.e. how often and for how long do families need to receive the program)? Can our service meet those requirements?|
|Data and measurement of effectiveness||• How is progress towards goals, milestones and outcomes tracked? • What are the requirements for data collection (i.e. what measures are recommended, how often are they to be administered, who can administer them)? • How accessible and relevant are the developer-recommended evaluation tools (ease of access, cost, ease of administration and scoring, relevance to Australian context)?|
|Staff selection||• What are the necessary staff qualifications or skill requirements (i.e. who can deliver the program)? Does our service have such staff or can our service acquire such staff?|
|Languages||• What language/s is the program available in and does that match our client population? • Is the program relevant and accessible to particular cultural and language groups (e.g. Indigenous families)?|
Communities face a number of challenges and barriers when implementing evidence-informed positive parenting activities, including:
- An evidence-based program may not exist for the communities’ identified needs, target audience, services and cultural context
- The monetary cost of an evidence-informed program may be too high
- Deciding the extent to which a program should be adapted (if indeed it’s possible to fit their context) and, if attempted, how it should be adapted to retain the essential activity elements and effectiveness.
Set your objectives
Setting objectives for your Community Action Plan is an important part of the planning process.
Some example objectives for positive parenting activities are provided in the following list. Groups can develop their own objectives, although you may find these a useful starting point.
Over the next six months, work with (xx number) key partners of the (xx name) community to:
- Increase (xx number) community organisations’ knowledge of the importance of evidence-based positive parenting
- Increase the number of evidence-based positive parenting activities being delivered by (xx number) community organisations
- Work with (xx number) community organisations to promote local positive parenting activities to increase parents, grandparents and family members participation in these positive parenting activities
- Work with (xx number) community organisations to increase parents, grandparents and family members access to positive parenting information through the delivery of evidence-informed promotional materials
- Increase (xx number) parents’/ grandparents’/family members’ access to quality information on positive parenting
- Increase (xx number) parents’/grandparents’/family members’ knowledge on positive parenting
- Increase (xx number) parents/ grandparents/family members participating in positive parenting activities.
Communities that are delivering existing positive parenting activities such as Triple P can use and/or adapt the objectives already established for these programs.
Working with community partners
Strong partnerships are critical to your success in preventing alcohol and other drug-related harms in the community.
LDATs can work with a variety of different community partners to deliver positive parenting activities, such as family support services, organisations working in early childhood development and other organisations that work directly with children and/or parents.
LDAT partners can support positive parenting activities in many ways, including delivering and promoting activities, recruiting parents, providing expert trainers, financial support, and much more. The specific activity being delivered may influence the type of individuals, networks and organisations that your group partners with.
Partners may include:
- Individual parents
- Maternal Child Health Nurses
- Parents groups
- Childcare providers, including long-day care, family day care, occasional care
- Primary schools and their staff, including principals, teachers, student services consultants (counselors) and administrative staff
- General practitioners
- Community health centres and neighbourhood houses
- Local providers of activities for 0–5 children (e.g. music, swimming, gymbaroo, mums and bubs groups, indoor play centres)
- Walking groups
- Major employers and workplaces
- Local council.
Determine resources required
All positive parenting activities need to be adequately resourced. Below is an indicative list of the resources required for community organisations to deliver their own positive parenting activities. LDATs may be able to support community organisations by providing some of these resources or linking these organisations to other partners who can provide additional support.
- Basic administrative tools incl. access to stationery and other office supplies, printers, phones, printing, a workspace for administrative duties
- Venue/s for positive parenting sessions
- Funds to undertake police checks or ‘working with children’ checks (where necessary)
- Knowledge/materials and/or funds to enable the training of staff
- Knowledge/materials and/or funds to develop promotional material to promote positive parenting activities
- Personnel time to liaise with community organisations (e.g. attend meetings, provide advice etc.)
- Insurance and liability coverage (where appropriate).
Consider measures of success
While you are planning your activity, it is important to consider measures to success for your positive parenting activity. Determine how you will evaluate the success of your activity linking your success measures to your objectives (see Establish your measures).