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Parents Plus Early Years

Evidence rating
2
Cost rating
1
Review: Foundations for Life, July 2016

Parents Plus Early Years (PPEY) is for parents with concerns about a child between the ages of one and six.

Parents attend between eight and 10 weekly sessions, where they learn positive parenting strategies and effective discipline.

The group sessions involve eight to 12 parents and last approximately two hours. The session topics are drawn from two teaching DVDs of videotaped scenes of real parent-child interactions that were filmed both at home and in the clinic. The video input is backed up by group discussion, practice exercises, skills role play, homework activities and handouts.

EIF Programme Assessment

Evidence rating
2

Parents Plus Early Years has preliminary evidence of improving a child outcome, but we cannot be confident that the programme caused the improvement.

What does the evidence rating mean?

Level 2 indicates that the programme has evidence of improving a child outcome from a study involving at least 20 participants, representing 60% of the sample, using validated instruments. 

This programme does not receive a rating of 3 as its best evidence is not from a rigorously conducted RCT or QED evaluation.

What does the plus mean?

The plus rating indicates that a programme’s best available evidence is based on an evaluation that is more rigorous than a level 2 standard but does not meet the criteria for level 3. 

Cost rating
1

A rating of 1 indicates that a programme has a low cost to set up and deliver, compared with other interventions reviewed by EIF. This is equivalent to an estimated unit cost of less than £100.

Child outcomes

According to the best available evidence for this programme's impact, it can achieve the following positive outcomes for children:

Preventing crime, violence and antisocial behaviour

Improved behaviour - based on study 1

Reduced hyperactivity - based on study 1

Parents Plus Early Years

Key programme characteristics

Who is it for?

The best available evidence for this programme relates to the following age-groups:

  • Toddlers
  • Preschool

How is it delivered?

The best available evidence for this programme relates to implementation through these delivery models:

  • Group

Where is it delivered?

The best available evidence for this programme relates to its implementation in these settings:

  • Home
  • Children's centre or early-years setting
  • Primary school
  • Community centre
  • Out-patient health setting

How is it targeted?

The best available evidence for this programme relates to its implementation as:

  • Universal

Where has it been implemented?

Ireland, United Kingdom

UK provision

This programme has been implemented in the UK.

UK evaluation

This programme’s best evidence does not include evaluation conducted in the UK.

Parents Plus Early Years

About the programme

What happens during delivery?

How is it delivered?
  • Parents Plus Early Years is delivered in nine sessions of 2.5 hours duration by two mental-health professionals to groups of parents.
What happens during the intervention?
  • Parents attend a combination of group and individual sessions.
  • The individual sessions, which include parent, child and therapist, are designed to give parents an opportunity to ‘try out’ the ideas in the course and raise specific concerns, as well as tailor aspects of the course to an individual child’s needs. Videos of parent-child interaction are created and then replayed and discussed in the individual sessions. The use of video feedback is central to these sessions. 
  • The group sessions involve eight to 12 parents and last approximately two hours. The session topics are drawn from two teaching DVDs of videotaped scenes of real parent-child interactions that were filmed both at home and in the clinic. The video input is backed up by group discussion, practice exercises, skills role play, homework activities and handouts.

What are the implementation requirements?

Who can deliver it?
  • Two practitioners deliver this programme. Both are mental-health professionals with QCF-6 level qualifications.
What are the training requirements?
  • The practitioners have 21 hours of programme training each. Booster training of practitioners is recommended.
How are the practitioners supervised?
  • It is recommended that practitioners supervised by one programme developer supervisor (qualified to QCF-7/8 level), and one host-agency supervisor (qualified to QCF-6 level).
What are the systems for maintaining fidelity?
  • Supervision
  • Booster training
  • A ‘Parent Plus quality protocol’ checklist for practitioners to complete after every session
Is there a licensing requirement?

There is no licence required to run this programme.

How does it work? (Theory of Change)

How does it work?
  • Developing and maintaining warm, positive, and enjoyable relationships with children is central to changing their behaviour.
  • Once parents ‘tune into’ and understand their children, they are in a better position to learn more effective parenting strategies.
  • Parents unintentionally reinforce unwanted child behaviours through ineffective parenting strategies.
  • PPEY assumes that when parents have the opportunity to reflect on the reasons underpinning their child’s behaviour they will understand how to encourage children’s positive behaviours rather than inadvertently reward negative child behaviours.
  • More effective parenting strategies lead to short-term improvements in children’s behaviour and reduced parenting stress.
  • In the longer term, children will be less likely to engage in antisocial behaviour, have an improved sense of self and perform better in school.
Intended outcomes

Preventing crime, violence and antisocial behaviour

Contact details

Parents Plus Early Years

About the evidence

Parents Plus Early Years’ most robust evidence is from a quasi-experimental design conducted in Ireland.

Study 1

Citation: Griffen et al (2010)
Design: QED
Country: Ireland
Sample: 117 parents and their children attending mental health services in Dublin
Timing: -
Child outcomes: Improved behaviour
Reduced hyperactivity
Other outcomes: None measured

Griffin, C., Guerin, S., Sharry, J. & Drumm, M. (2010). A multicentre controlled study of an early intervention parenting programme for young children with behavioural and developmental difficulties. International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology, 10, 279-294.

Available at
http://www.aepc.es/ijchp/articulos_pdf/ijchp-351.pdf

Other studies

The following studies were identified for this programme but did not count towards the programme's overall evidence rating. A programme receives the same rating as its most robust study or studies.

Gerber, S., Sharry, J., Streek, A., & McKenna, G. (In press). Parent training: Effectiveness of the Parents Plus Early Years programme in community preschool settings. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal.

Hayes, N., Siraj-Blatchford, I., Keegan, S., & Goulding, E. (2013). Evaluation of the Early Years Programme of the Childhood Development Initiative, Centre for Social and Educational Research, Dublin Institute of Technology and Institute of Education, University of London.

Kilroy, S., Sharry, J., Flookd, C. & Guerin, S. (2010). Parenting training in the community:  Linking process to outcome, Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 1-15.

Lonergan, A., Gerber, S., Streek, A., & Sharry, J. (2015). Parenting groups, how long is enough? The efficacy of a community-run Parents Plus Early Years Program as a preschool parenting intervention of modifiable duration. Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice, 6, 1-13.

Sharry, J., Suerin, S., Griffin, C., & Drumm, M. (2005). An evaluation of the Parents Plus Early Years Programme: A video-based early intervention for parents of pre-school children with behavioural and developmental difficulties, Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 10, 319-336.

Published March 2017   |   Last updated April 2017