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Engaging parents in parenting programs: Lessons from research and practice


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  • Axford, Nick
  • Lehtonen, Minna
  • Kaoukji, Dwan
  • Tobin, Kate
  • Berry, Vashti
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    When evidence-based parenting programs are implemented in real-world settings they often fail to produce the results shown in efficacy trials. One reason for this is difficulties in engaging parents. This paper identifies lessons from a review of literature on engaging parents in parenting programs and presents a case study of the implementation of the Incredible Years BASIC program in the context of a randomized controlled trial. It examines the challenges encountered and efforts to overcome them. Key recommendations include: a clear recruitment process; good communication and liaison with stakeholders; incentives for recruitment and retention; active and creative outreach work; investment in building relationships with parents; making programs easily accessible; and having realistic expectations.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Children and Youth Services Review.

    Volume (Year): 34 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 10 ()
    Pages: 2061-2071

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:cysrev:v:34:y:2012:i:10:p:2061-2071

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    Keywords: Parent engagement; Parenting programs; Enrollment; Attendance; Recruitment; Retention;


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    1. Jonathan Bradshaw & Petra Hoelscher & Dominic Richardson, 2007. "An Index of Child Well-being in the European Union," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 80(1), pages 133-177, January.
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    Cited by:
    1. Axford, Nick & Morpeth, Louise, 2013. "Evidence-based programs in children's services: A critical appraisal," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 268-277.
    2. Stahlschmidt, Mary Jo & Threlfall, Jennifer & Seay, Kristen D. & Lewis, Ericka M. & Kohl, Patricia L., 2013. "Recruiting fathers to parenting programs: Advice from dads and fatherhood program providers," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(10), pages 1734-1741.


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