Baby & Us is a new parent-led, practitioner-supported course for parents of children aged under one year delivered by CCCH.
High-quality parenting programs are a proven way of intervening early to optimise children’s chances in life, but how do we engage parents who are feeling disempowered?
Peer-led or parent-led programs are unique and are based on the idea that parents talk to other parents as a first choice when seeking information, and communication is more credible when presented by ‘someone like me’.
The power of parent-led programs
CCCH has been advocating for and providing training in parent-led initiatives for many years. CCCH leads the Empowering Parents, Empowering Communities (EPEC) program in Australia, a parent-led, practitioner supported, parenting intervention developed by the Centre for Parent & Child Support, National Health Service (UK), whereby local parents are trained to run parenting groups in their community.
Parents are paid for their work and are supported and supervised by a specially trained practitioner within a local community organisation.
Australian research shows that EPEC helps parents feel comfortable engaging with family-focused services because it is facilitated by ‘someone like me’. In other words, the presence of local parents working within parenting services provides a linking role between professionals and parents who find services hard to access.
As part of EPEC, parents participate in and are trained to facilitate, the Being a Parent (BAP) course.
Until recently, Australian EPEC sites were only able to deliver the BAP course for families with children between 2 and 12 years.
The addition of the ‘Baby and Us’ program in existing Australian EPEC sites has been made possible through a grant from the Australian Government Department of Health. This grant will also enable a further parent-led program to be incorporated into EPEC sites to support parents with teenagers, ‘Living With Teens’.
Baby & Us
The new Baby & Us course is for parents with a baby aged under one year of age.
The course will be offered over 9 weeks at selected sites across Australia and uses an engaging and creative blend of small and large group discussion and reflection, information sharing, demonstrations and practice.
The course covers a range of parenting topics, including:
- processing the birth of your baby
- being good enough
- your baby’s personality
- connecting with your baby
Parents from the participating sites will be trained to facilitate the Baby & Us program, while being supervised and supported by practitioners.
What role can practitioners play in Baby & Us?
CCCH recently brought together practitioners from EPEC sites in Western Australia, Victoria and Tasmania, to equip them with the knowledge and confidence to support the Baby & Us course.
The practitioners were trained in the Baby & Us course content and approaches to assisting experienced parent facilitators to deliver the course. They also had the opportunity to share their experiences of implementing EPEC and working with parents in delivering the BAP course and were also able to connect with lead staff from the London EPEC hub.
Practitioners involved in the training spoke about the positive impact the Baby & Us course will have on families with young babies in their communities. Some of their feedback is captured below.
After completing our first Being a Parent program with our parents. I was inspired by my parents, seeing the positive empowering impact this program had on them. I then took part in the Baby & Us training, straight away I could see how this program would support my parents on their journey as parents. Completing the training with other EPEC practitioners was a highlight, to take in their wealth of knowledge was a real game changer for me and I’m truly grateful. Community Inclusion Worker, Tasmania
Connecting with colleagues from around Australia who are sharing the EPEC program with their communities has allowed us to consider new ways of working and bring a refreshed enthusiasm for the program home to our local community. EPEC Coordinator, Western Australia.
For more information about EPEC or the Baby & Us course contact Dr Paul Prichard, CCCH Training & Development Manager.