Parenting support interventions for Indigenous families: Let’s Start extension

The Let’s Start project developed from an earlier project partly funded by the CRC for Aboriginal and Tropical Health, called the Tiwi Life Promotion Evaluation Project. This was the first attempt to adapt and implement a resilience-promoting intervention on the Tiwi Islands. The CRC for Aboriginal Health is now contributing substantial funding to an extension of the Commonwealth-funded project: Let’s Start: Exploring Together for indigenous Preschool Children (referred to here as Let’s Start).

The pre-school version of this project has been redeveloped for Indigenous pre-school and early primary school-aged children and their parents. The aim is to consolidate the research framework; extend the engagement of the Let’s Start project with the Indigenous community in Darwin and Darwin rural; to extend the engagement of the project with the health and community services sector, including child welfare; to develop materials and resources for Early Intervention in the Indigenous community, using learnings arising out of Let’s Start.

The program promotes positive parent–child interaction, improves children’s social and emotional competencies and helps build their capacity to negotiate the transition to school. The program is based on a manual that sets out structured activities for children and parents over 8–10 weeks of a school term, and is delivered by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous group leaders. About 40 schools in the Darwin, Darwin rural regions, at Jabiru and on the Tiwi Islands are now taking part in the program.

Summary of outcomes:

  • improved parenting, reductions in parental anxiety
  • improved parent-child interaction Improved children’s social skills
  • reduction in identified problem behaviours as reported by teachers and parents
  • improved engagement of fathers/male carers.
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