Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Parenting programmes must be inclusive to work

I am currently working at the Annual Conference of the British Psychological Society (BPS) - follow #bps2013 on Twitter if you are interested.

Today we had a symposium on parenting support programmes based on the BPS report Technique Is Not Enough (TINE). I did make belated attempts to invite a blogger to come and report it. Having failed, I am writing this short report myself as a penance.

The best introduction to TINE is an article its lead author, Dr Fabian Davis, wrote for the Guardian when it was published last year:
TINE describes how the programmes can become "services as usual" in education and social care. Genuine co-production between programme developers and local parents, working alongside teachers, health and social care professionals, can drive effective inclusion. The framework challenges developers to identify the essential ingredients of their current parenting programmes and to clarify what can be adapted to meet local parents' sociocultural needs.
And if that whets your appetite, then you can download TINE from the BPS website. If you do so you can read its idea in more detail:
Parenting programmes should: 
1. Maximise the recruitment of low-income, black and minority ethnic families that are traditionally considered to be ‘hard to reach’ and reduce the drop-out rates of disadvantaged and socially excluded families.
2. Empower local voices by implementing new programmes in co-production with local programme service user parents so they become culturally congruent, and through working in partnerships with local professionals in health, education and social care. 
3. Build social capital in local communities during the assessment process to determine which parenting programme will be used, by modelling mutually respectful relationships with parents and with health, mental health, education and social care professionals; and then support programme delivery structures that span home life, school and the wider community to both deliver information and build relationships within and across families. 
4. Plan for sustainability from the outset by facilitating local ownership through actively developing local parents’ and practitioners’ capacity to learn about, plan, adapt, implement and evaluate their local parenting programme and maintain quality assurance structures whilst engaging effectively with local service systems to become services as usual.
Fabian Davis was not able to take part, so another of the authors of the report, Dr Lynn McDonald from Middlesex University, presented its ideas.

Also on the panel was Martin Swain, the Welsh Government's deputy director, children, young people and families. He was keen to promote the policies of that government, which rather made him Leighton Andrews' representative on Earth.

And the third speaker was Dr Susan Elmer from Leeds Trinity University, who spoke of her experiences researching domestic violence by talking to women from excluded families. I was struck by her observation that such women would much rather to talk to representatives of bodies from the independent sector than the statutory authorities.

I am a bit of a sceptic on parenting education - I was not aware of "parent" as a verb before the early 1990s. But I do find TINE'S emphasis on involving parents from poor families in devising and delivering such programmes valuable.

Besides, I am always happy to cite professional opinions when they are in line with my own prejudices.

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