Every year millions of children in Europe are exposed to maltreatment, which can be threatening to the child?s health, dignity, trust and agency. Once a child has experienced maltreatment, it is difficult to alleviate its consequences, making it more important to prevent child maltreatment and safeguard children at-risk.
Child Welfare Services play a significant role in preventing child maltreatment. Nevertheless, Norwegian child welfare authorities have been criticized for failures regarding their preventative work, especially for not offering interventions that are intensive or comprehensive enough.
The Family Partner project has developed a new intervention for the municipal Child Welfare Services, to prevent child maltreatment in at-risk families. The intervention provides intensive follow up by a Family Partner, parental training, and improved coordination of the services directed at vulnerable families. These key elements have been demonstrated to be efficient in interventions for vulnerable children, but they remain to be systematically adapted to and tested in a Norwegian context. The project will evaluate the effect of the intervention through both qualitative and quantitative methods.
For the intervention to be successful, it is essential to develop and implement it together with the Child Welfare Services and the families themselves. In the Family Partner project, several partners from research, the civil society and municipalities work together to develop, implement and evaluate the Family Partner intervention.
The goal of the project is to provide the municipal Child Welfare Services with an evidence-informed intervention, as well as contribute to a secure upbringing for children growing up in at-risk families - one of the most vulnerable group of citizens in our society. The knowledge produced to the project will be relevant for practitioners in the municipalities, health professionals, user organizations, researchers, as well as children growing up at risk for maltreatment and for vulnerable families.
FAMPART seeks to improve the services directed at the most vulnerable group in society; children growing up at risk of maltreatment. Maltreatment threatens a child’s health, dignity and trust, and can cause fatal injury, adverse health outcomes and reduced life chances. Child Welfare Services need more evidence-informed practices to prevent child maltreatment, and provide follow-up to at-risk families with complex needs.
FAMPART will develop, implement and evaluate a new intervention for the Norwegian Child Welfare Services, improve services for vulnerable children, promote agency and trust in welfare services, improve children´s life chances, and prevent child maltreatment. The Family Partner intervention will be developed to prevent child maltreatment through: 1) home visitation and intensive follow up, 2) parental training, and 3) coordination of welfare services. The intervention remains to be systematically adapted to and tested in a Norwegian context.
FAMPART is a challenging and complex undertaking in public innovation, where the co-development, adaptation, implementation and evaluation of an intervention involves several collaborators; an international research team, two municipalities, SOS Children’s Villages, user representatives and national and municipal stakeholders.
FAMPART will 1) Co-develop the Family Partner intervention manual and adapt it for the Child Welfare Services with collaborators, 2) Monitor and facilitate the implementation of the Family Partner intervention in two municipalities, 3) Evaluate the municipal implementation and trial design, regarding adaptability, acceptability, feasibility, and costs, 4) Prepare an Expansion of the Family Partner intervention in the municipal services, and examine the feasibility for a multi-site Randomised Controlled Trial, and 5) Disseminate findings to the practice field, wider public and the academic milieu.