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G44 Early start in early years: Evaluating a vulnerable first time parent programme
  1. TC Redwood,
  2. J Callagham,
  3. J Alexander
  1. Institute of Health and Wellbeing, University of Northampton, Northampton, UK

Abstract

Background and Purpose An evaluation of an outreach service programme for vulnerable first time parents with a focus on parental well-being to assist the family. It is delivered by health visitors, early childhood practitioners and family nursing support staff in Central England. The programme is transformative in that it addresses family health issues by enabling support to centre on the lives of those children born at a disadvantage through education of their parents.

Evaluation This paper considers the review process including the operational aspects from the family nurses’ perspective. It incorporated an analysis of parental self-efficacy tools used within the programme.

Methods A mixed methodology (Frost, 2011) was proposed to draw on appropriate outcome measures. The qualitative component of the research involved recorded individual semi-structured telephone interviews, analysed thematically (Braun & Clark 2006) to reveal patterns of response in participants’ experience of the intervention and its impact. The outcome measures were then analysed statistically, using SPSS to explore the impact of the Early Start Programme. Descriptive statistics were used to describe service elements while demographic and descriptive information on age, ethnicity, referral source, number of sessions attended enabled a description of the service.

Findings The study explored the perceptions and experiences of the parents and the professionals co-ordinating and facilitating a programme focussing on vulnerable families. In exploring the impact of the programme, socio-economic outcomes (e.g. removal into care and relative costs benefits), parental, professional experiences and course completion were explored. Professional dedication, flexible working patterns and adaptive measures enabled these families to thrive often despite difficult physical, mental and economic factors.

Conclusions This research provided an understanding of the outcomes of the intervention for families. It enabled an exploration of the intervention at a service delivery level and an overview of the impact of the programme.

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