ISOTIS report highlights the importance of trusting relationships in programmes focused on family and parenting support

ISOTIS releases a new report of promising or successful programmes focused on family and parenting support. Our team studied programmes implemented in England, Germany, the Netherlands, and Portugal. The goal was to shed light on how these programmes overcomed existing challenges, and ensured high outreach and process quality.

According to the report, one of the main success factors contributing to effective outreach was the establishment and use of trusting relationships.

In different programmes, it was highlighted that the practitioners working with families need to be trusted members of the community. The practitioner should be someone parents can identify. This may be fostered by shared backgrounds and experiences, or by deep knowledge about the families. The programmes met the families through trusted organisations and key-persons, who already had contact with parents at places where they spent their time.

Findings indicated that practitioners should meet the parents at eye level, and respect them as experts of their own children. Professionals' attitudes towards the families, such as respect, egalitarian view on parents, and empowerment, were acknowledged as relevant for effective outreach.

The programmes were made visible through communication channels seen and listened to by the families. These programmes were promoted in a non-stigmatizing way, and offered at pleasant schedules regarding times and places of classes or meetings.

However, the authors highlight that the partners involved in the programmes, communication channels used, and concrete activities offered need to be carefully adapted to the specific needs of the families in a given context. Successful or promising programmes seem to be characterized by the interplay of factors, which may be different depending on the societal context and change over time.

"Case studies of promising parent- and family-focused support programmes" is the title of this new ISOTIS report. It is authored by Franziska Cohen, Mareike Trauernicht (both from Freie Universität Berlin), Joana Cadima, Gil Nata (both from University of Porto), Katharina Ereky-Stevens (University of Oxford), Martine Broekhuizen, Ryanne Francot (both Utrecht University), and Yvonne Anders (Freie Universität Berlin).

Click here to read the executive summary

Click here to read the full report