When children and young people miss appointments at mental health clinics the consequences include wasted resources and longer waiting lists for others, as well as a risk that their problems will go untreated. A short phone call to parents before a first appointment can make a big difference.
Overcrowding, sexual and physical abuse, and inadequate care: this was the reality of Romanian orphanages during the Ceausescu dictatorship. Over the last two decades, foster care largely replaced these shocking conditions. Now the spotlight has a new focus: helping foster families relate to children who are likely to have serious behavioral and emotional problems. And a version of cognitive behavioral therapy can do just that, a new study suggests.
Parenting programs whose effectiveness has been convincingly established through research have tended to be those that teach behavior management skills derived from social learning theory. But an evaluation from Norway of the International Child Development Program (ICDP) – a “non-instructive” program aiming to promote parental empathy and understanding of children’s development, suggests it could benefit families.
Social skills training programs for children and young people often have moderate and short-lived benefits. A Dutch program designed to remedy the weaknesses of earlier programs shows some promise, especially when there are “booster” sessions.
On the 7th of November 2007, Pekka-Eric Auvinen, an 18 year old student entered Jokela High School in Tuusula, Finland carrying a semi-automatic pistol. He killed eight people and wounded one other before shooting himself in the head. A year later another school massacre in Kauhajoki, Finland claimed the lives of another 11 people.
A combination of sexual health education for girls at risk, sessions to improve their confidence and life skills and regular interaction with the toddlers at a local nursery appeared a promising formula for preventing unsafe sex and teenage pregnancies.
But an evaluation of the “Teens and Toddlers” (T&T) program in England has found no benefits from the intervention in altering expectations of early parenthood or preventing unprotected sex.
In one large urban school district, almost one in seven students has no stable place to call home at some point between third and eighth grade. A new analysis of more than 26,000 students from the Minneapolis, Minnesota public schools shows that these children do worse in school, on average, than those from very poor families who have a stable place to live. And yet some show remarkable resilience, for reasons that are hard to explain.
Children from high-risk homes tend to have more trouble staying cool in emotionally charged situations. Their mothers are also less likely to coach their children on how to understand and display their emotions, new research finds. The good news is that this provides direction for family programs.
Imitation serves an important social function starting in infancy, a new study claims. Toddlers who were mimicked by a researcher went on to offer more help to an adult – regardless of whether that adult was the researcher or someone new.
Scientists have observed since the 1940s that many autistic children experience distressing levels of anxiety. But an exploration of autism and anxiety among twins shows that anxiety symptoms are often a heightened problem for both siblings, even when one twin has no autistic traits.
Depression and anxiety disorders are prevalent among teenage girls. How can this be addressed? An evaluation of an Australian early intervention program has shown that educating parents when girls are of preschool age can have lasting effects on their likelihood of developing depression and anxiety in adolescence.
Increasing children’s willingness and ability to learn at the start of their education can have lasting, positive effects on their whole school career. But could their motivation be increased just by giving them a group identity related to learning?
New research suggests that the timing of sleep is related to infant brain development, with infants who sleep mainly during the night performing better on abstract reasoning tasks at age four.
Is the Wii Fit just a fun games console for kids to play with at home? Early stage research suggests that it may be able to do more, helping children with impaired coordination to develop their motor skills.
Physical or emotional abuse and neglect at an early age can alter the development of children’s biological stress responses – but can that knowledge be put to positive use when planning prevention services?
At least one in 10 new mothers experiences mental illness during pregnancy or the first year of her baby’s life. In England alone, more than 70,000 women suffer perinatal mental illness every year. But most of those who are ill don’t get the care they need, a new report by the NSPCC argues.
In a study of almost 600 Los Angeles teens, the sense of belonging students felt in high school changed over time – at least for the girls. Between the ages of 14 and 15, girls’ school belonging was higher than boys’ overall. But during the course of high school, girls’ sense of belonging declined slightly, while boys’ remained stable. And it matters, argue two California-based psychologists, because the years in which students felt they belonged were also the years when they were most motivated at school.
Resources may be scarce and policy makers might have to make difficult decisions about what to buy. But a more rational strategy that invests early for later benefits would make sometimes nitpicking and frequently complicated comparisons between the value of one "flagship" prevention program and another irrelevant.
The family systems approach that underpins parenting programs such as Multisystemic Therapy, Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care and Functional Family Therapy may have a value in the treatment of juvenile sex offending, psychologists at the Medical University of South Carolina suggest.
Nick Axford explains the differences between English and Welsh approaches to implementing and evaluating Sure Start – and considers the lessons for the future.
Results of introducing an American parenting program to parts of Wales under the aegis of the well-established UK prevention initiative, Sure Start, have been so encouraging that they pose important challenges to makers of UK policy.
A popular program for helping children with language learning difficulties is found to have no impact and even detrimental effects in some cases.
Introduction of year-round schooling with shorter breaks to limit the damage holidays do to the education of poorer children has failed a test in Ohio. "Year-round calendars do not fix the problem of summer learning," the research team reports. "They simply sweep it under the rug of fall, winter, and spring."
Subscribe to our newsletter
Click here to subscribe to the Prevention Action Newsletter.
There is more to the international transfer of prevention programs than just hitting the “copy and paste” buttons. The introduction of the Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring program to Ireland offers insights into how to succeed.
Few people working with children will have heard the term “prevention scientist,” let alone know what one is or does. Yet this relatively new breed of researcher is behind the growing list of evidence-based programs being promoted in western developed countries. A new publication puts them under the microscope.
Crime and antisocial behavior prevention efforts have flourished over the last 10 years in the US. This progress can and should be used to help communities improve the life chances of their young people, a recent update urges.
Given the well-known barriers to implementing evidence-based programs, is it better to identify their discrete elements and trust practitioners to combine them in tailored packages depending on the needs of the child and family in question?