Background: In the Netherlands, 15 % of all families with children under the age of 13 years deal with significant parenting problems. Severe parenting problems may lead to adverse physical, cognitive, and psychosocial outcomes for children, both in the short and long run. The intervention Supportive Parenting (in Dutch: "Stevig Ouderschap") is a preventive program, which aims to reduce the risk of (developing) parenting problems among parents at risk of these problems. The intervention consists of six additional home visits by a Youth Health Care nurse during the first 18 months after childbirth and is focusing on the following elements of parental empowerment: activating social networks, increasing parenting skills and supporting parent(s)/caregiver(s) in getting grip on their own life.
Methods and design: A controlled trial is performed in two regions in the Netherlands. An intervention group receives the intervention Supportive Parenting, and a control group receives 'care-as-usual'. Parents in both the intervention and control group fill out three questionnaires focusing on various elements of empowerment (social support, parenting skills, self-sufficiency and resilience), behavioral and emotional problems of the child. The effects of the intervention will be evaluated at child age 1-3 months (baseline) and child age 18 months by comparing the outcomes between the intervention group and the control group on the primary outcomes. Additionally, interviews and focus group interviews will be held to identify factors, which hinder or stimulate a wider implementation of the intervention Supportive Parenting.
Discussion: It is hypothesized that parents at increased risk of parenting problems who receive the intervention Supportive Parenting during the first 18 months after childbirth, will have enhanced their social support networks and parenting skills, increased their self-sufficiency and strengthened resilience compared to at risk parents receiving care-as-usual. Additionally children of parents from the intervention group will display less parent-reported behavioral and emotional problems.

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This study is funded by grant #70-72900-98-13137 by ZonMw, Organization for Health Research and Development,
BMC Psychology
Department of Public Health

Horrevoets, E. M. B., van Grieken, A., Broeren, S., Bannink, R., Bouwmeester-Landweer, M.B.R., Hafkamp-De Groen, E., & Raat, H. (2015). Design of a controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness of Supportive Parenting ('Stevig Ouderschap'): An intervention to empower parents at increased risk of parenting problems by providing early home visits. BMC Psychology, 3(1). doi:10.1186/S40359-015-0104-1