Much of the research in the parenting field has concentrated on the content of parenting programmes, with little consideration given to the training of the practitioners who will be expected to deliver it in the real world. As Moran et al (2004) highlighted in “What Works in Parenting Support”, a critical factor in the success of parenting groups lies in the quality of parent group facilitators.
We know that commissioners of services need an effective parenting programme and training that will equip practitioners with the skills and confidence they need to deliver the programme. Family Links therefore commissioned Young People in Focus to examine the quality of their training and its impact on trainees.
The aim of the research was to evaluate the Nurturing Programme Parent Group Leader training run by Family Links, from the perspective of the trainees. The focus was on understanding trainees’ hopes and expectations for the course, the knowledge and skills that they gain from it, levels of confidence in running parenting programmes before and after the training, and key ‘take away’ messages for their work with parents.
· 100% of trainees said the training met their expectations and many added that it surpassed their expectations, was ‘life-changing’ and ‘transforming’.
· Participants considered the course facilitators to be extremely good modellers of how to run courses for parents. 94.4% rated the facilitators as 5/5 (where 5 was ‘extremely effective’)
· Participants compared the Nurturing Programme favourably with other training they had attended due to:
× the focus on the family rather than individuals, i.e. a more holistic approach
× the emphasis on reasons behind behaviour, and on understanding human behaviour
× the focus on emotions and well-being, of parents, carers, and children
× the fact that it is evidence-based.
A small number of participants felt that it compared less well to other training because of insufficient attention to issues of culture/race, and the impact of class and poverty on parenting.
· 100% of trainees said that they would recommend the Nurturing training to others who were working with parents.
· 2-4 months after the training 82% of trainees rated the training as being very useful (rating as either a 9 or 10 out of 10, where 10 is 'extremely useful').
· Trainees also reported having used the learning from the Nurturing Programme in other areas of their lives since the training, including in one-to-one work, with colleagues, in other group-based work, and in their personal lives.