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Supporting positive parenting through legislation and policy

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1 Supporting positive parenting through legislation and policy
Supporting positive parenting through legislation and policy Jenny Gray, Social Work Consultant and Immediate Past President, International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect ISPCAN Global Institute 29th San Diego International Conference On Child and Family Maltreatment, 25 January 2015

2 Ninety Mile Beach, New Zealand

3 Mt Cook, New Zealand

4 Dr C. Henry Kempe ( )

5 Kempe’s 6 stages of community recognition of child maltreatment - 1978
Stage 1 Denial of physical or sexual abuse – the responsibility of psychotics, drunk or drugged parents and foreign guests Stage 2 Lurid forms of abuse – the battered child syndrome Stage 3 Physical abuse better handled – attention to neglect and failure to thrive Stage 4 Recognition of emotional abuse, deprivation and neglect, and scapegoating Stage 5 Serious plight of sexually abused child recognised Stage 6 Guaranteeing each child is wanted, loved and cared for, sheltered, fed, first class preventative curative and health care

6 Positive parenting to prevent child maltreatment
Legislation Policies Resources Evidence based interventions

7 Positive parenting Definition of “positive parenting” – parental behaviour ensuring the fulfilment of the best interests of the child ”that is nuturing, empowering, non-violent and provides recognition and guidance which involves setting of boundaries to enable the full development of the child.” Source: Council of Europe recommendation (2006)19 on positive parenting adopted by the Committee of Ministers (13/12/2006) Is the concept of positive parenting understood? By parents? Professionals? Governments?

8 How is positive parenting achieved?
Parents having access to resources to support them Removing obstacles to positive parenting Promoting positive parenting through actions of awareness raising Source: Council of Europe recommendation (2006)19 on positive parenting adopted by the Committee of Ministers (13/12/2006)

9 UNCRC international obligations
Children Right to protection from harm Right to family life Parents Provide appropriate guidance and direction (in a non-violent manner) Provide materially for the child Enable the child to be heard Emphasis on parental nurturing, providing structure, recognition and being empowered Shifts emphasis from parental authority to parental responsibility

10 UNCRC international obligations
State’s responsibilities the Guarantor the enabler the promoter Role of State parties Develop a policy on parenting Support parents in rearing their children Policy to include: Creating the conditions for positive parenting Removing barriers Promoting positive parenting Providing equal access to resources

11 National legislation Examples:
banning all forms of physical chastisement including smacking ensuring women have equal opportunities in the work place ensuring all legislation is family friendly creating research/evaluation/project development bodies

12 National legislation Example from England Children Act 2004
“improve the wellbeing of children” in the local authority area Children Act 1989 duty “to safeguard and promote the welfare of vulnerable children” “it is in children’s best interests to be brought up in their families wherever possible” “whilst parents responsibility to bring up their children, they may need assistance from time to time to do so” “parents should be able to call on services … from or with the help of the local authority when they are required”

13 Policies National and local policies which support:
Parenting and families All children forming secure attachments to their parents/caregivers Good quality childcare provision Parenting being able to access knowledge of how to bring up their children in non-violent ways and maximise their developmental potential Parents being able to access help with parenting concerns through e.g. helplines, advice and counselling services, parent education classes, self help groups Parents receiving specialist help when they or their children need it

14 Resources Provision of services
Are they part of a service delivery plan at central or local government level? Financial – at central and local government level Are they funded? Is this funding sufficient? Is the funding ringfenced? Human – volunteers and professionals tasked with implementing positive parenting programmes are there enough people? are they trained to implement the programmes? Are they trained in evidence based programmes? Are the resources located in areas which are accessible to parents? Are the programmes acceptable to parents?

15 Framework for intervention and prevention of child maltreatment
Maltreatment (all types) Long-term outcomes Prevention before occurrence of recurrence impairment Universal Targeted A framework for intervention A three level model of prevention is often used to map both medical and social interventions. In this model primary prevention covers universal approaches to reduce the potential incidence of abuse and maltreatment; secondary prevention covers targeted approaches towards families where there is a greater likelihood of abuse and neglect, but before maltreatment has taken place; whilst tertiary prevention is designed to prevent further deterioration in cases where abuse or neglect has been identified. The left hand side of the Figure maps preventive interventions before the occurrence of maltreatment, and distinguishes between universal (primary) and targeted (secondary) prevention. The right hand side maps interventions which take place after maltreatment (tertiary prevention). In including tertiary prevention, the diagram is intended to demonstrate how interventions designed to prevent maltreatment and its recurrence differ from those designed to prevent long-term impairment to the child. From: MacMillan HL, Wathen CN, Barlow J, Fergusson DM, Leventhal JM, Taussig HN. Interventions to prevent child maltreatment and associated impairment. Lancet 2009;373: 15 15

16 Evidence based interventions
Primary level Secondary level Tertiary level

17 Evidence based interventions – primary prevention
Swedish ban on physical chastisement (1979) evaluated 15 years later (Durrant, 1999) Findings: public support for such punishment had declined Only 1/3 middle school children reported physical punishment from mother or father – most the mildest forms 3% population surveyed received a harsh slap, 1% hit with an object Young people less likely to be suspected of physical abuse No child had died as a result of physical abuse

18 Evidence based interventions – secondary prevention
Most effective targeted approaches to preventing physical abuse and neglect appear to be home visiting programmes and multi-component interventions used in parent training (Davies and Ward Home, 2012) Home visiting programmes Family Nurse Partnership in the UK (Department of Health, 2013) Home Visitation in the US (Olds et al, 1994) Parent training programmes Triple P-Positive Parenting Programme Incredible Years Programme (Webster-Stratton, 2010)

19 Evidence based interventions – tertiary prevention
Parent-focused interventions e.g. Parents under Pressure (Dawe and Harnett, 2007) Parent and Child Focused Interventions e.g. Interaction Guidance Family Focused Interventions e.g. Multi-systemic Therapy for Child Abuse and Neglect (Swenson et al 2010) Child Focused Interventions e.g. Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care (Fisher et al 2005)

20 Assessment Framework A conceptual map for children and families work
Health Basic Care Education Ensuring Safety Emotional & Behavioural Development CHILD Safeguarding & promoting welfare Emotional Warmth CHILD’S DEVELOPMENTAL NEEDS Identity PARENTING CAPACITY Stimulation Family & Social Relationships Guidance & Boundaries Social Presentation Stability Selfcare Skills FAMILY & ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS Income Community Resources Family’s Social Integration Employment Housing Wider Family Family History & Functioning © Child and Family Training 2011 20 20


22 Aim of the Hope for Children and Families project and resources
The HfCF project includes Resources for Practitioners – designed for work with children and young people and their parents and carers to prevent abusive and neglectful parenting and the associated impairment of children’s health and development. The resources are aimed at all practitioners whose roles are to intervene to provide services to children and families where there are concerns that a parent may harm or neglect their child and where there is risk the child’s health or development is impaired.

23 Article Reference: Bentovim A. and Elliott I
Article Reference: Bentovim A. and Elliott I. (2014) Hope for Children and Families: Targeting Abusive Parenting and the Associated Impairment of Children. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology. Website:

24 ISPCAN Training Resources
See our website:

25 Thank you! Contact details:

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