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Children and families

Families, parenting and early intervention are central to current social policy. The government’s Troubled Families Unit, tasked with ‘turning around’ the lives of 120,000 ‘troubled families’ reflects a consensus that parenting and family support can improve children’s life chances. The focus on early intervention builds on the drive by the previous government to focus on ‘early years’ and family-centred interventions to address social exclusion and reduce inequality. Current policy is also influenced by the financial climate which gives added urgency to the need to remedy family problems likely to lead to spiralling costs

RM Insight has specialist experience in evaluating early intervention and parenting projects. We recognise the influence of parenting on development in early childhood years and have experience designing robust measures of educational, health, cognitive and behavioural outcomes. Determining the effect of parents and parenting on child outcomes is extremely difficult as child development takes place through a number of personal and institutional interactions. Nonetheless, research has demonstrated that the way parents interact with their children is an important influence on child outcomes. In addition to affecting educational outcomes there is evidence that parenting is a determinant of conduct or behavioural problems in children.

We have experience conducting longitudinal studies of parenting interventions using validated clinical tools and self-reporting measures to monitor parent self-efficacy, child behaviour, well-being and the supportiveness of the home environment:

The evaluation frameworks we design for parenting projects focus on achievable data collection within the available resources and meaningful evaluation indicators that reflect programme objectives. Our research is underpinned by rigorous methodological principles that include a committment to: