This week a number of Kids First practitioners undertook training in Promoting First Relationships (PFR), our new infant mental health program. Relationship and strengths-based, PFR aims to help families facing adversity, including those involved in the child welfare system.
Developed in the late 1990s at the University of Washington, PFR began as a relationship based approach to home visiting informed by infant mental health principles. PFR seeks to increase caregiver's awareness of their children's social and emotional needs, including their need for a sense of safety and security, as well as increasing a caregiver's understanding of their own needs as parents.
While many evidence based parenting programs provide fixed, often group-based delivery, PFR engages with families individually. As a home-based intervention, PFR practitioners work with the caregiver to build reflective capacity, explore their own strategies and set social and emotional goals for their parenting and for their child according to their needs or challenges.
Utilising observational and video feedback and grounded in attachment theory, infant mental health and reflective practice principles, PFR gives professionals who work with families with young children (0-5 years) the knowledge, tools and consultation strategies to help guide and support caregivers in gaining confidence and knowledge for increased parental sensitivity, and improve child outcomes.
Randomised Controlled Trials of PFR in the US child welfare system have shown;
- significantly improved observed parental sensitivity
- parent knowledge of child social and emotional needs
- improved child behaviour
- 2.5 times reduction in foster care
Kids First's Family Services and early years teams enjoyed the training led by accomplished social worker Carol Good. We look forward to opportunities to integrate the 10-week PFR program where it can be of benefit to appropriate clients.