Parenting within the Public Health System in Thailand

About this project

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  January 2022 - December 2024
Principal Investigators Dr Amalee McCoy (Peace Culture Foundation, Thailand), Professor Frances Gardner (University of Oxford), Dr Sombat Tapanya (Peace Culture Foundation, Thailand)
Research Team Wilaiwan Pongpaew (Chulalongkorn University)
Partners Boromorajonani Nursing College, Chiang Mai University, Chulalongkorn University, Ministry of Public Health, Parenting Education Working Group, UNICEF Thailand


Implementation research to examine and support the scale-up of Parenting for Lifelong Health (PLH) within the public health system in Thailand with an emphasis on adaptation of PLH digital, male engagement, cost-benefit analysis, and social return on investment. Both PLH In-Person and the PLH-Digital programme package will be used with a target group of parents and caregivers of young children. The training of over 100 parent group facilitators, a number of coaches (to support the  facilitators) and some trainers (to ensure that there is training capacity for the programme in Thailand) is also a core component of this project.


Since 2017, the University of Oxford, UNICEF, and MOPH have worked in partnership to adapt, test, and implement PLH Young Children in Thailand. A randomised trial (N=120) demonstrated effectiveness in reducing child maltreatment by 58%, parent mental health problems by 40%, and child behaviour problems by 60% compared to a control of services-as-usual at three-months follow-up. Given these results, the partners have initiated a second phase of implementation, including the training of new cohorts of facilitators, coaches, and trainers; integrating programme delivery, monitoring, and evaluation into the government health services database system; promoting digital parenting delivery; and engaging in policy advocacy.


There are two primary objectives of this study:

  1. To support the scale-up and evaluation of PLH delivery within the public health system in Thailand, with an initial focus on the North-eastern region
  2. To foster the development of national and regional Communities of Practice (CoP) focused on knowledge exchange and the promotion of evidence-based parenting interventions

Study Setting

The project focuses on Health Administration Region 8 in the Northeast, which comprises seven provinces: Udon Thani, Nongbualumphu, Loei, Nong Khai, Bueng Kan, Sakhon Nakhon, and Nakhon Phanom. 

Study Significance and Impact

The project emphasizes close collaboration with key policymakers, child protection influencers, academia, and UNICEF in Thailand, to support the embedding of PLH within the public health system and the commitment of ongoing funding by the Thai Government. It is a unique opportunity for capacity building and engagement with policymakers both nationally and in a South-to-South context.


The Thai National Community of Practice on Positive Parenting

The Thai National Community of Practice on Positive Parenting was launched in September 2022 with the aim of establishing a growing community of dedicated individuals and organizations focused on advocacy, the exchange of knowledge, the generation of ideas, and strategic collaboration on evidence-informed and evidence-based positive parenting in Thailand. Core activities include bi-monthly webinars featuring policymakers, practitioners, and researchers in the parenting field; quarterly newsletters; and a website for sharing both Thai and international resources at their website. The organizing committee for the community is led by the Peace Culture Foundation and the National Institute of Child and Family Development at Mahidol University.