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Promoting good outcomes for children in need through parenting skills

Report, case studies | March 2008

This paper is one of a series produced in response to demand from local authority commissioners in Wales, offering research and best practice findings on how to promote good outcomes for children in need.

It points to growing knowledge about the impact of different styles of parenting, including what constitutes ‘positive’ and negative’ qualities of parenting, and what the impact of these qualities are. The paper gives examples of existing parenting support initiatives and looks at the main goals and dimensions of semi-formal and formal programmes.

It examines what parenting programmes can achieve, describing the aims and strategies of a range of different interventions, and analysing evidence for their effectiveness, each illustrated with a number of good practice examples. It notes common characteristics of successful programmes as well as identified limitations.

The paper concludes with overall messages about designing and delivering services, and suggests that for children in need it may be necessary to consider more intensive programmes and those that acknowledge the difficulties of reaching disengaged parents and families of vulnerable children or young people. It also recommends considering a number of implementation issues in developing and reorganising services.