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    Effectiveness of the Volunteer Family Connect Program in reducing isolation of vulnerable families and supporting their parenting: randomized controlled trial with intention-to-treat analysis of primary outcome variables

    Grace, R. and Kemp, L. and Baird, K. and Elcombe, E. and Webster, V. and Barnes, Jacqueline (2019) Effectiveness of the Volunteer Family Connect Program in reducing isolation of vulnerable families and supporting their parenting: randomized controlled trial with intention-to-treat analysis of primary outcome variables. JMIR Pediatrics and Parenting 2 (2), e13023. ISSN 2561-6722.

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    Abstract

    Background: Volunteer home visiting is a widely adopted community-based approach to support families by linking isolated or vulnerable families with community volunteers who visit their homes weekly over approximately 12 months. This study seeks to robustly evaluate the effectiveness of this model of support for families with young children. Objective: This paper reports the intention-to-treat analysis of primary and secondary outcomes for a pragmatic randomized controlled trial (RCT) of the Volunteer Family Connect intervention, a volunteer home-visiting program designed to support families with young children who experience social isolation or a lack of parenting confidence and skills. Methods: The RCT was conducted across seven sites in Australia. Overall, 341 families were recruited: 169 intervention (services as usual+volunteer home visits) and 172 control (services as usual) families. Intervention families received the program for 3-12 months. Participants were invited to complete six data collection points over a 15-month period. Primary outcomes were community connectedness and parenting competence. Secondary outcomes included parent physical and mental health, general parent wellbeing, parent empowerment, the sustainability of family routines, and the parent-child relationship. According to the protocol, the program would be judged to be effective if at least one of the primary outcomes was significantly positive and the other was neutral (ie, intervention families did not demonstrate positive or negative outcomes compared to the control group). Results: The intervention group demonstrated significant improvement in the primary outcome variable parenting sense of competence as compared to the control group. Overall, there was no significant difference between the intervention and control groups with regard to the primary outcome variable community connectedness, other than on the “Guidance” subscale of the Social Provisions Scale. Because there were statistically significant findings for the total score of one primary outcome variable “parenting sense of competence” and largely neutral findings for the primary outcome variable “community connectedness,” the program met the previously defined criteria for program effectiveness. In relation to secondary outcomes, intervention families reported significantly higher wellbeing and were significantly more likely to feel that life was improving. Conclusions: The Volunteer Family Connect intervention was considered an effective intervention, with a role to play on the landscape of services available to support vulnerable families with young children.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): volunteer home visiting, randomized controlled trial, families, support services, social relationships, community, Volunteer Family Connect
    School: Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Science > Psychological Sciences
    Depositing User: Jacqueline Barnes
    Date Deposited: 03 Mar 2020 12:39
    Last Modified: 30 Jul 2020 01:01
    URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/28238

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