WelCom News
A newspaper for the Wellington and Palmerston North Catholic Dioceses

Child behaviour programme trialled in Manawatu

Palmerston North

Graeme Munford
11 November 2011

The Catholic/Anglican social service agency, ACROSS, has just become the lead provider for a new programme, Triple P, the positive parenting programme. ACROSS will run a pilot in the Manawatu region for this award-winning government initiative.

This adds to ACROSS’s already highly successful Strengthening Families programme.

Triple P has proved itself to be almost always successful in addressing child behaviour problems, says ACROSS director Graeme Munford, although more than half its emphasis is on developing positive attitudes, skills and behaviour. This helps prevent problems arising and fosters family relationships that encourage children to realise their full potential.

Developed by New Zealander Matt Sanders at the University of Queensland, Triple P has helped six million children and their families worldwide and is one of the only evidence-based parenting programmes available with more than 30 years of proven clinical research to support it.

As one parent says, ‘It has helped me to see that not all the problems were my son’s behaviour, but how I dealt with them. The biggest changes came in my own behaviour’.

This two-year contract will see two new ACROSS staff deliver the programme in the Manawatu and Horowhenua as far south as Otaki. The team will also offer training and support to local practitioners to expand Triple P’s reach in the lower North Island.

Targeted at families with three- to seven-year-olds, this home-based programme typically comprises four 20-minute sessions. Practitioners visit the home up to four times over a four to six-week period and tailor the programme to the needs of the family concerned from managing behaviour issues to coaching in positive parenting skills.

Strengthening families
ACROSS has also won a government contract to employ a full-time Strengthening Families coordinator. Set up in the late 1990s, Strengthening Families brings multiple organisations together with a family to plan and organise the services the family needs.

The process can be used by any family that has children in its care or who needs help from more than one agency. ACROSS handles all the local referrals for families who need access to this free, voluntary service. Eleven New Zealand government agencies are involved along with hundreds of community-based services like ACROSS.

By having everyone around the table at the same time, families have to tell their story only once. Contact Graeme Munford admin@across.org.nz or 06 356 7486.

Image: Graeme Munford, Linda Martin counsellor, Bee Dodunski supervising social worker, Rina Oosthuizen administrator, Wyllis Russell social worker and Strengthening Families coordinator.