For about 15 years the Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communities (SFSC) parenting course and research programme has been delivered to families in Calderdale. The course reaches far beyond the usual strategies for managing the behaviour of children, by supporting care givers to consider the roots of their parenting decisions. It emphasises the importance of the parent-child relationship and encourages the ultimate aim of living healthy and violence free lifestyles..
SFSC is an international course that began in the United States of America, where the evidence base for its effectiveness was first established. In 1999 the Home Office then awarded a grant to the Race Equality Foundation (REF), based in London, to develop the course in the United Kingdom.
As SFSC is now decades into delivery within the UK there was a need to revisit the evidence base. A five-year programme of funding was agreed by the NHS in conjunction with research led by University College London (UCL) and supported by REF.
UCL approached Halifax Opportunities Trust (HOT) Children’s Centres with the opportunity to take part in this important research which we have enthusiastically taken up. Our challenge was to gain twice as many persons to take part than normal, for each course delivered, so that about half would be on the delivery and the other half would take part in the research whilst waiting to attend a course.
Our first ‘research’ delivery was due in early 2021 which was, of course, impacted by the pandemic and the national lockdown. However, despite this blow we managed to start live delivery in March 2021 whilst working with pandemic restrictions. We were wonderfully supported to deliver in Elsie Whiteley Innovation Centre (EWIC). Eleven parents attended that course with ten of these graduating (attending a minimum of nine sessions).
Encouraged by this early success we then held a further ‘research’ course at the Town Hall in Hebden Bridge starting in September 2021. Out of a further eleven parents eight managed to graduate.
Although this was meant to be our last delivery, our success prompted a request, by UCL, for another delivery within our reach area. This took place in The Outback (behind Jubilee Children’s Centre) and was completed in July 2022. Out of nine parents six were able to graduate. Before this delivery had completed we agreed to host a final delivery starting in September 2022 from St Paul’s Church in Sowerby Bridge. This course has now started with another eleven parents attending and we look forward to seeing how many of these are able to graduate.
In total 24 people have, so far, succeeded in graduating from the ‘research’ courses. We are enormously proud of that achievement at such a difficult time for families and for services and incredibly proud of our contribution to this important research.
To learn more about the work delivered by our Children & Families by clicking on the button below