Evaluation of Triple P delivery in NSW shows what is needed to make ‘the transition from good science to better service’

It’s always extremely gratifying to see the work that we do translated into an inter-agency, government-backed effort that transforms the lives of families.

But the NSW Government is to be congratulated not just for the work they are doing in making Triple P available free for families of children aged 3 to 8.

Their continual evaluation of the implementation of Triple P in NSW is taking the program’s reach beyond the welfare sector and into the broader community where it will make the most impact.

A great paper by Sally Gaven and Janet Schorer published in a recent edition of the Australian Institute for Families Studies journal, Family Matters, shows just how much work is being done to continually assess and improve the delivery of Triple P to NSW families.

An evaluation by Nexus Management Consulting in 2011 found that by 2010, the NSW implementation had already moved 1,150 children from the clinical to the non-clinical range of behaviour and emotional difficulties.

A survey of practitioners trained in Triple P found that almost 90 per cent would recommend Triple P to their colleagues.

A survey of practitioners trained in Triple P found that almost 90 per cent would recommend Triple P to their colleagues.

But, as Gaven and Schorer’s paper outlines, “it is not enough to train practitioners in high-fidelity, effective and efficient evidence-based programs’’.

“The ‘magic’ of practice transformation (the transition from good science to better service) happens when evidence-based programs are supported by well-thought out and executed implementation drivers.’’

The Nexus paper and Gaven and Schorer’s work identifies a number of ways to broaden the reach of Triple P beyond that of just the welfare sector.

These includes integrating Triple P with transition-to-school programs, promoting Triple P internally within the DEC, making direct approaches to principals and parents and citizens committees to promote Triple P and deliver Triple P in neutral venues such as local government services and libraries.

And as Gaven and Schorer point out, a number of these steps are well on the way.

The lessons of the NSW implementation provide a useful path through the challenges that lie ahead for governments.

Disclosure statement

The Triple P – Positive Parenting Program is owned by the University of Queensland. The University through its main technology transfer company, UniQuest Pty Ltd, has licensed Triple P International Pty Ltd to publish and disseminate the program worldwide. Royalties stemming from published Triple P resources are distributed to the Parenting and Family Support Centre; School of Psychology; Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences; and contributory authors. No author has any share or ownership in Triple P International Pty Ltd. Matthew Sanders is the founder and an author on various Triple P programs and a consultant to Triple P International.