Supporting Indigenous Health Professionals : Key issues and supports for the adoption of evidence-based behavioural interventions in Indigenous communities


Indigenous children and youth are extremely disadvantaged on most indices of health and wellbeing: they have higher rates of health risk behaviours, early school drop-out, suicide, juvenile offending, family fragmentation, abuse and neglect. For children living in families with poor quality parenting (25%), risk for clinically significant emotional or behavioural problems is four times greater than in families with good quality parenting. Of the many risk factors for poor outcomes for children, family interaction and parenting practices are potentially modifiable. Substantial evidence shows that behavioural family intervention programs based on social learning models are the most extensively evaluated form of psychosocial intervention for children, and are effective in reducing family risk factors associated with child behaviour problems. However, little research has been conducted on the effects of parenting programs with Indigenous communities. This report documents a culturally tailored approach which was developed and evaluated for the Group Triple P – Positive Parenting Program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families. Group Triple P is an early intervention program that aims to promote positive, caring family relationships and to help parents develop effective strategies for dealing with common behaviour problems and developmental issues. The primary objective of this project was to develop a collaborative process to identify specific issues experienced by Indigenous Health Workers in the delivery of the Triple P- Positive Parenting Program to Indigenous families; in particular, supports and barriers to program introduction, implementation and maintenance in the community. The key areas explored were: consideration of staff selection for training, culturally-sensitive training and adult learning processes, proficiency-based accreditation, community and workplace partnerships, and post-training clinical support for practitioners to offer parenting programs in their community. The process involved consultation with Indigenous professionals and policy makers. Based on the consultation process, this consensus statement was developed detailing training and post-training issues for Indigenous health professionals. It has also informed the development of a framework for culturally sensitive training and post-training support components and processes.

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