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A review of parental engagement in parenting interventions and strategies to promote it

Alina Morawska (The University of Queensland)
Matthew Sanders (The University of Queensland)

Journal of Children's Services

ISSN: 1746-6660

Article publication date: 1 April 2006



Despite the importance of increasing engagement and minimising attrition and drop‐out in parenting interventions, there is a paucity of empirical evidence examining factors related to engagement and participation. The range of factors examined in relation to engagement is generally limited in scope and variety, focusing on variables of convenience rather than utilising a theoretically‐driven approach.The aim of this article is to review the factors related to parental engagement with interventions and to describe strategies and implications for improving engagement with parenting interventions. Several policy and practice implications are identified: (1) Poor parental engagement may threaten or compromise the capacity of parenting programmes to deliver valued outcomes. Viable engagement strategies need to be a core part of prevention and early intervention parenting programmes; (2) Agencies delivering parenting services need a proactive engagement strategy, which includes strategies to prevent drop‐out, as well as strategies to actively respond to parental disengagement; (3) Research is needed to test the efficacy and robustness of different engagement enhancement strategies. Empirical tests are needed to test the effectiveness of different engagement strategies in order to ensure that the most efficient, cost‐effective and efficacious approach is used in order to engage parents. Investment of research effort to improve parental engagement is likely to have a high yield in terms of programme efficiency, utility and cost effectiveness. We conclude that research examining how to improve engagement and decrease non‐completion is needed to strengthen the population level value of parenting programmes as preventive interventions.



Morawska, A. and Sanders, M. (2006), "A review of parental engagement in parenting interventions and strategies to promote it", Journal of Children's Services, Vol. 1 No. 1, pp. 29-40.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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