Empowering Parents, Empowering Communities: The benefits and challenges of delivering parenting programs in community languages

Program evaluation snapshots
Wednesday 25 July, 1140 – 1150


Colleen Turner
Victorian Cooperative on Children’s Services for Ethnic Groups New Futures

Enabling parents from culturally diverse communities develop positive parenting strategies, confidence and skills is core of this education and support program. Empowering Parents, Empowering Communities (EPEC) is a peer-led parenting intervention which trains parents to facilitate the Being a Parent course.

This program aims to improve knowledge of early years’ services, create new support networks for parents of children aged 2 to 12 years. EPEC was developed, trialled and validated in England and rolled out in Tasmania. The Victorian Cooperative on Children’s Services for Ethnic Groups (VICSEG) partnered with Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and the Centre for Parent and Child Support (UK) to trial the application of this intervention in first language, to Arabic, Indian, Burmese and Vietnamese families in Melbourne. The program was a recipient of a Victorian Government early years award in 2017.

This paper considers the benefits and challenges of training and supporting facilitators to deliver a parenting program in languages other than English. Benefits include increased accessibility of parenting programs and information to parents with little or no English.

A significant challenge has been the provision of supervision of a program that is delivered in a language the supervising practitioner cannot speak. In addition, the translation of materials can be difficult as parenting concepts and values do not translate neatly across cultures.

Nonetheless, the rewards of working across languages and cultures in the provision of parenting support are considerable. This intervention is being extended to a number of new language/cultural groups in 2018.