PLH-YC training for GPI provides valuable insight

GPI colleagues from around the world met in Oxford from 19 – 21 September to undergo training in the in-person version of the Parenting for Lifelong Health for Young Children (PLH-YC) programme.



The facilitator training, led by Prof Judy Hutchings, was organised for GPI members in an effort to train researchers and project staff who are directly or indirectly working on studies implementing PLH-YC as part of its intervention. Prof Hutchings is one of the original developers of the intervention and has worked in the area of parenting interventions since 1976.

“As someone who works in data analysis, this training provided me with hands-on experience of how interventions are conducted,” says Dr Qing Han, a postdoctoral research officer at Oxford’s Department of Social Policy and Intervention. “It helped me better understand the delivery methods of our intervention content.”

Part of the comprehensive PLH suite of interventions designed for people working with parents, the PLH-YC programme specifically targets parents of 2- to 9-year-old children.

Developed and rigorously evaluated in low-income countries such as South Africa, the Philippines, Thailand, and various Eastern European nations, PLH-YC is grounded in social learning theory principles proven to promote positive parenting. It has also been implemented within routine settings in many countries including the DRC, South Sudan, Zimbabwe, Montenegro and the Czech Republic. 

The training content is structured around the metaphor of building a 'House of Support,' where the walls symbolise positive parenting and the roof signifies limit-setting and positive discipline strategies. Much like how you need to construct a strong, solid wall before you construct the roof of the house, parents need to build a strong relationship with their child before implementing positive discipline techniques.

PLH-YC consists of weekly sessions led by two trained co-facilitators. Each session spans 2 to 2.5 hours and covers various crucial aspects of parenting, including spending quality time with children, naming feelings and actions, praise and rewards, giving instructions, establishing household rules, non-violent discipline techniques, and problem-solving.

The programme culminates in a celebratory final session that reviews acquired skills and provides guidance on their sustained application at home. Facilitators maintain engagement by conducting mid-week phone calls to monitor parents' skill application and overall engagement.

The programme has been evaluated in different versions, including 8 and 12-session weekly group-based sessions for 12 to 15 parents. The facilitator training, designed for individuals in social care and early years services working with caregivers of children aged 2 to 9, equips participants with essential skills in social learning principles, parenting, and child behaviour management.

Findings from published randomised controlled trials in South Africa and the Philippines indicate that the PLH-YC programme has a range of positive outcomes, including improving positive parenting and reducing child maltreatment. In the Philippines, the trial also noted reductions in intimate partner violence. These positive findings are being maintained in routine settings – as is the case in South Sudan.

“It made me realise why intervention content is targeted towards children but can also have a positive impact on intimate partner violence,” says Han.