Evaluation of an early parenting program for young parents (to 25 years)

Program evaluation snapshots
Wednesday 25 July, 1230 – 1240

Presenters

Dr Cecily Strange
Ngala,
School of Population and Global Health, University of Western Australia

Abstract
Young parents (to 25 years) often experience social, education and economic disadvantage. They are more likely than older parents to be socially isolated, experiencing many challenges which can lead to poorer health and wellbeing outcomes both for themselves and their children. Young parents are developing responsibility as parents while still maturing into adulthood, and need support during the transition to parenthood through the early years of their child’s development.

This study evaluated the efficacy of a facilitated group program for young parents, in relation to the development of parenting confidence, local community connectedness and fostering mental wellbeing. The program was undertaken in a low socio-economic area in Perth, led by Ngala in partnership with local community support agencies and co-designed with parents. Many of the parents had experienced trauma, isolation and mental health problems.

A mixed methods research approach was undertaken using interviews with parents (n=20) and quantitative measures, and a staff focus group (n=5). This presentation will report on the qualitative findings and program logic.

Findings illustrate group sessions co-designed with parents provide valuable opportunities to learn about the importance and application of early brain child development and attachment; enhance parenting skills and peer learning; empower and foster personal growth in young parents; and build a supportive local network. The role modelling of parenting by facilitators is an important strategy in developing parent skills and responses. The co-design of session topics, incursions and excursions ensures the program has relevance for the young parents attending.