Improving parenting, improving practice Evidence, impact and evaluation

We know that the Video Interaction Guidance and the Positive Parenting Programme (Pathways Triple P) are effective, but we wanted to find out whether they improve outcomes for children who have been neglected. So, we conducted an evaluation looking specifically at this area. Our evaluations of Positive Parenting Programme (Triple P) and Video Interaction Guidance (VIG) are the first of their kind in the UK.

How neglect affects children

Neglect is the most common form of maltreatment suffered by children in the UK (NSPCC, 2014). Neglect can put a child at immediate risk of illness, injuries, disability and even death. It can also have long-lasting effects including mental health problems; poor physical, emotional and social development; behavioural problems; and low self-esteem.

Yet social workers are often unsure about how best to intervene. There is often a lack of timely intervention to protect children at risk. Cases can be left to drift when no-one steps back to look at the overall picture of the child's life.

Read more about child neglect.

How Video Interaction Guidance and the Positive Parenting Programme are helping prevent abuse and neglect

Video Interaction Guidance (VIG) is based on the principle of self-modelling (Dorwick, 1999) by allowing parents to watch themselves behaving in a positive way.

Video Interaction Guidance was developed in the Netherlands in the 1980s by Harrie Biemans and colleagues. It was adapted and brought to the UK by Hilary Kennedy at Dundee University. It is widely used in Scotland.

Research has shown that Video Interaction Guidance is effective at changing behaviour and attitudes (Fukkink, 2008) and reaching parents who are not motivated to change (Chaffin et al., 2009).

Pathways Triple P draws on cognitive behavioural and development theory. It aims to show parents the way their behaviour can improve their relationship with their child.

Triple P was developed in the 1980s by the University of Queensland, Australia to prevent and treat behaviour and emotional problems with children and teenagers. Pathways Triple P is a new branch for parents who are at risk of harming their child.

Research has shown that Pathways Triple P improves relationships between parents and children and reduces problems with children's behaviour (Wiggins et al, 2009).

How we're evaluating this service

We are conducting the first evaluation of Video Interaction Guidance and the Pathways Triple P in relation to cases of neglect in the UK. Both programmes are known to work but this is the first evaluation of their effectives in helping children who have been neglected.

There are 2 components to the evaluation of Improving Parents Improving Practice:

Impact evaluation

A quasi experimental design of the two programmes (Pathways Triple P and Video Interaction Guidance) plus an historic comparison dataset of parents over whom concerns of neglect were expressed and who received NSPCC family support services in 2006-2010.

Data were collected by practitioners delivering the programme at 3 time points:

  • T1: when programmes began
  • T2: when programmes ended
  • T3: six month follow up.

Process evaluation

Feedback forms from parents and practitioners and evaluation interviews with parents.

The biggest challenge to the evaluation was to work as consistently as possible over 8 services sites in 4 nations of the UK. The training of practitioners and administrators in these different places together with on-going support from NSPCC programme managers and support staff, helped to reduce inconsistencies in practice.

Getting parents to complete 3 sets of measures at 3 time points was a challenge. A balance of informed consent from parents and persuasive encouragement from practitioners helped to maximise the evaluation data.

Obtaining interviews with parents was also a challenge. We approached this through feedback forms where parents could express an interest. These were followed-up by practitioners talking to the parent, then evaluators talking to the parent and then the offer of a home-based interview.

This evaluation was carried out internally by the NSPCC evaluation department. It used the following tools:

  • The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire
  • The Parenting Scale
  • The Parent Child Relationship Inventory

Find out more about the tools used to measure outcomes

Contact Paul Whalley for more information.

What we've learned

Children had fewer emotional and behavioural difficulties after participating in the Video Interation Guidance (VIG) programme or the Pathways Triple P programme.

Parents felt their parenting had improved following VIG or Triple P.

Partnership between parent and practitioner is vital. Parents valued working with a practitioner who is flexible with new ideas and suggestions and non-judgemental in their approach.

Read the evaluation report of Triple P and key findings and executive summary of VIG.

What we're doing next

The learning from these evaluations will be further developed in the new NSPCC service Thriving Families.

Impact and evidence hub

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References

  1. Chaffin, M. et al (2009) A motivational intervention can improve retention in PCIT for low-motivation child welfare clients. Child Maltreatment 14(4): 356-368.

  2. Dowrick, P. W. (1999) A review of self modeling and related interventions. Applied and Preventive Psychology 8(1): 23-39.

  3. Fukkink, R. G. (2008) Video feedback in widescreen: a meta-analysis of family programs. Clinical Psychological Review 28(6): 904-916.

  4. Wiggins T. L., Sofronoff, K. and Sanders, M. R. (2009) Pathways Triple P-Positive Parenting Program: effects on parent-child relationships and child behavior problems. Family Process 48(4): 517-530.