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Engagement in parenting programmes: exploring facilitators of and barriers to participation
16 March 2016

The large-scale delivery of evidence-based parenting programmes is key to nation building in South Africa. In order to achieve change, parents must participate in these programmes. This policy brief aims to contribute to an understanding of participation by exploring the barriers and facilitators encountered by a sample of parents who were invited to take part in one of two local parenting programmes. Recommendations to improve recruitment and retention strategies are provided.

About the authors

Inge Wessels is a PhD candidate in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cape Town (UCT). Her current research investigates parental engagement in parenting programmes in low-income settings. She is also the Project Manager of the Sinovuyo Caring Families Project, which is a study of a parenting programme for parents of 2- to 9-year-olds with difficult behaviour.

Soraya Lester is a PhD candidate in the Department of Psychology at UCT. Her doctorate is focused on the National School Safety Framework, a violence prevention framework presently being taken to scale in South African schools. Her research interests are in programme monitoring and evaluation; specifically working with interventions that aim to improve child development through violence prevention.

Catherine L Ward is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at UCT, and with the UCT Safety and Violence initiative. Her research interests are in violence prevention from the perspective of children’s development, and particularly in public health approaches to this – in developing evidence-based approaches to violence prevention that have a wide reach and are effective in improving children’s development and reducing their likelihood of becoming aggressive.

This policy brief was made possible with the support of the Institute for Security Studies, the DST-NRF Internship Programme, the Cape Higher Education Consortium, the Society for Research on Child Development Patrice L Engle Dissertation Grant in Global Early Child Development, and the David and Elaine Potter Foundation. The ISS is grateful for support from the following members of the ISS Partnership Forum: the governments of Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the USA.
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