Since the opening of the new Family and Community Centre, there has been a steady increase in families attending the drop-in service, held on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. It is recognised, that parents are a major influence on children’s lives and it is also understandable that, at times, parents may find it hard to cope with the additional responsibilities which inevitably come with parenthood.
The Care Agency believe it is therefore crucial that families are provided with the right support at significant points in their children’s lives, and have said it is fully committed to provide high quality practice, that is both effective and evidence based. Over the last year, the Care Agency has been working hard to develop the Early Intervention Services.
Training has been commissioned for their staff from the ‘Incredible Years Training Group’ in UK, with the view of delivering the training locally. The Incredible Years Parenting Programme was developed by Carolyn Webster-Stratton, in the University of Washington’s Parenting Clinic. The programme, aimed at children aged between the ages of 3 and 12 years old, is founded on social learning theory and consists of at least 12 weekly, two-hour group sessions, delivered by skilled practitioners. The programme aims to promote positive parenting, improve parent-child relationships and increase the use of positive strategies. It also works towards helping parents to identify social learning theory principles for managing behaviour and improve home-school relationships. The programme uses a collaborative approach, encouraging parents to learn from each other. Methods used include role-play, modelling, group discussion, homework and reviewing videos of family behaviour.
For the first time, the Care Agency will be offering the Incredible Years Programme for 12 consecutive weeks, commencing on the 13th March, between 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., at the Family and Community Centre in Mid Harbours Estate. The Minister for Health Care and Justice, the Honourable Neil F. Costa MP, launched the programme on the 26th February, with social workers providing a presentation about the programme and the referral system to an audience of voluntary organisations and care professionals.
￼The Head of Children’s Services, Ms Nicole Viagas, expressed her delight at how the Early Intervention Services has developed in such a short time. She reiterated that the guiding force driving the Children’s Team is the understanding that children want to grow up in their families, stating: “Having the opportunity to grow up in a healthy family unit is what the team aspire for every child. The parenting programmes will undoubtedly bring in another dimension to the early intervention programme, which I am certain will be extremely positive. I have trained and have delivered this programme in the UK as a Social Work student and I can vouch the effectiveness of the programme”.
Following the launch, Minister Costa commented: “I am impressed with the achievements of this important service and happy with the work that the Care Agency is carrying out and the team’s ongoing commitment. I am confident that the Incredible Years Parenting Programme will be a success and prove beneficial to parents, children and families in our community”.