Positive, healthy and happy families are the cornerstone of any healthy community. Parenting programs which address multiple aspects of family functioning are potentially the most effective means of creating positive family environments. However, the various constituents who “consume” parenting support and intervention often are not engaged to help shape program design and development. Using the challenge of parenting siblings as a case example, this paper describes a conceptual framework for enhancing the health and well-being of communities through the iterative development of empirically supported parenting interventions. A model of program development involving enhanced consumer involvement is presented to illustrate how evidence-based parenting interventions can be developed to meet the needs of different constituent groups, resulting in more positive families and stronger communities.

Key Take Away Points

  • The extent to which parents raise their children positively has significant flow-on effects for the communities in which they inhabit;
  • Evidence-based parenting programs afford children many essential life skills which significantly shape their lifelong interactions with the community; thus
  • There is no more important potentially modifiable target of preventive intervention and conceivably no more powerful means of enhancing the health and well-being of a community than evidence-based parenting practices; therefore
  • The process of designing, developing and disseminating evidence-based parenting interventions is crucial to not only enhancing outcomes for children and their parents, but just as importantly, the communities in which they live.
  • Intervention developers are wise to be considerate of policy implications and questions of feasibility and cost effectiveness in designing and developing interventions

Author Biography

John Pickering is a senior postgraduate student at The University of Queensland and leads the Parenting and Family Support Centre's strategic development and social policy initiatives.

Matthew R. Sanders is a Professor of Clinical Psychology and Director of the Parenting and Family Support Centre at the University of Queensland. He is also a consulting Professor at The University of Manchester, a visiting Professor at the University of South Carolina, and holds adjunct Professorships at Glasgow Caledonian University and The University of Auckland. As the founder of the Triple P-Positive Parenting Program, Professor Sanders is considered a world leader in the development, implementation, evaluation and dissemination of population based approaches to parenting and family interventions. Triple P is currently in use in many countries worldwide. Professor Sanders’ work has been widely recognized by his peers as reflected a number of prestigious awards. In 2007, he received the Australian Psychological Society’s President’s Award for Distinguished Contribution to Psychology and in 2004 he received an International Collaborative Prevention Science award from the Society for Prevention Research in the US. In 2007 he received a Trailblazers Award from the Parenting and Families Special Interest Group in the Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Therapy and in 2008 was became a fellow of the New Zealand Psychological Society. Professor Sanders has also won a Distinguished Career Award from the Australian Association for Cognitive Behaviour therapy, was named Honorary President of the Canadian Psychological Association (2009), and Queenslander of the Year (2007).