A community-based parent-support programme to prevent child maltreatment

Mairead Furlong, Ann Stokes, Sinead McGilloway, Grainne Hickey, Yvonne Leckey, Tracey Bywater, Ciaran O'Neill, Chris Cardwell, Michael Donnelly, Brian Taylor

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The prevention of child abuse and neglect is a global public health priority due to its serious, long-lasting effects on personal, social, and economic outcomes. The Children At Risk Model (ChARM) is a wraparound-inspired intervention that coordinates evidence-based parenting- and home-visiting programmes, along with community-based supports, in order to address the multiple and complex needs of families at risk of child abuse or neglect. This paper presents the protocol for a study that will be carried out to evaluate this new service model (i.e. no results available as yet). The study comprises a multi-centre, randomised controlled trial, with embedded economic and process evaluations. The study will be conducted in two child-welfare agencies within socially disadvantaged settings in Ireland. Families with children aged 3-11 years who are at risk of maltreatment (n = 50) will be randomised to either the 20-week ChARM programme (n = 25) or to standard care (n = 25) using a 1:1 allocation ratio. The primary outcomes are incidences of child maltreatment and child behaviour and wellbeing. Secondary outcomes include quality of parent-child relationships, parental stress, mental health, substance use, recorded incidences of substantiated abuse, and out-of-home placements. Assessments will take place at pre-intervention, and at 6- and 12-month follow-up periods. The study is the first evaluation of a wraparound-inspired intervention, incorporating evidence-based programmes, designed to prevent child abuse and neglect within high risk families where children are still living in the home. The findings will offer a unique contribution to the development, implementation and evaluation of effective interventions in the prevention of child abuse and neglect.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages33
JournalHRB Open Research
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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