Image: Triple P benefits families in 25 countries.
The parenting program ranked by the United Nations as the most extensively researched in the world, Triple P – Positive Parenting Program, was conceived at The University of Queensland.
Triple P is estimated to have helped over four million children and their families around the globe, including reducing child abuse and neglect.
Triple P is now a truly global phenomenon. Translated into 19 languages, it is delivered in 25 countries. It’s estimated that more than 70,000 practitioners have been trained to deliver Triple P to parents.
With the philosophy of “small changes, big differences”, Triple P gives parents simple and practical strategies to help them confidently manage their children’s behaviour, prevent problems developing and build strong, healthy relationships.
Ranked number one by the United Nations, based on the extent of its evidence base, Triple P is setting the standard in cost-effective, population-based public health parenting programs around the globe.
The program also includes specialist approaches for parents of children with a disability, parents of overweight children, and parents dealing with separation or divorce.
Triple P got its start in the early 1980s as the PhD project of Matthew Sanders. A home-delivered program targeting parents of disruptive preschool children, it focused on a relatively understudied issue – to see whether parents, when taught the skills to manage their children’s behaviour in one setting, the home, could apply these skills to other settings, such as shopping trips.
Over 30 years, Dr Sanders, now Professor and head of UQ’s Parenting and Family Support Centre, and his team have refined the population-based program which supports parents, strengthens families and helps build healthy communities.
In 2001 entrepreneur Des McWilliam created and financed a new company, Triple P International, to promote and disseminate Triple P globally under a licence from UniQuest, UQ’s main commercialisation company. Since then, the reach and impact of Triple P has increased significantly. Triple P International’s focus on dissemination and communication strategies and the creation of an implementation framework has ensured continued growth and sustainability of the Triple P system of parenting programs.
The Triple P program is delivered to parents of children, where the children are in the age range of birth to 12 years. Its success has seen it expand its scope to offer Teen Triple P for parents of 12 to 16 year olds, as well as specialist programs for parents of children with a disability (Stepping Stones), for parents going through separation or divorce (Family Transitions), for parents of children who are overweight (Lifestyle) as well as tailored resources for Indigenous parents. Other specialist programs and tailored resources are being trialled or are in development with the support of Triple P International.
No other parenting program in the world has an evidence base as extensive as that of Triple P which has demonstrated positive benefits for children, families and the community.
Australian trials have shown that Triple P reduces behavioural problems in children, as well as depression and stress in parents. The program is used in most Australian states.
In the US, the landmark Triple P System Population Trial found that making Triple P available to all parents in a county (not just those parents at risk) slowed the growth rate of child abuse notifications by 22%, when compared to counties without Triple P. Its use was also shown to reduce foster care placements and decrease hospitalizations from child abuse injuries.
This study, funded by the Centers for Disease Control, was the first to quantify the positive effects of a parenting program at a population level on child maltreatment.
Triple P’s achievements are all the more remarkable because of the cost effectiveness of the program. An independent assessment of the US trial found that the cost of delivering Triple P universally would be recovered in a single year by just a 10% reduction in the number of families in which abuse and neglect occurred.
Through the sustained efforts of UQ’s commercial partner, Triple P International, Triple P continues to reach ever more parents across the globe, raising public perception about the importance of parenting, providing pathways for parents to access help and assisting parents to raise healthy and happy children.