Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 25, Issue 7, pp 2337–2352 | Cite as

Integrating Evidence and Context to Develop a Parenting Program for Low-Income Families in South Africa

  • Jamie M. LachmanEmail author
  • Liora T. Sherr
  • Lucie Cluver
  • Catherine L. Ward
  • Judy Hutchings
  • Frances Gardner
Original Paper


Children living in low- and middle-income countries, such as South Africa, face elevated risks of child maltreatment. Although evidence-based parenting programs have been shown to reduce rates of abuse in high-income countries, few studies have examined their effectiveness in low- and middle-income countries. Moreover, local cultural contexts may require the adaptation of evidence-based approaches in order to assure program acceptability and effectiveness. This study focused on the systematic development of an evidence-informed, locally relevant parenting program for socioeconomically disadvantaged families with parents of children aged 3–8 years, in Cape Town, South Africa. Intervention development took place over three stages: (a) identification of common core intervention components in evidence-based parenting programs (b) formative evaluation using qualitative in-depth interviews and semi-structured focus groups with local practitioners and low-income parents, and (c) development of intervention structure, format, and protocols. The process resulted in a manualized, group-based, 12-session parenting program that integrated existing evidence of effective components within a local, culturally relevant context. Recommended next steps are rigorous piloting to test feasibility and preliminary intervention effects followed by experimental trials to examine intervention effectiveness in a real-world setting.


Child maltreatment Intervention development Parenting programs Formative evaluation South Africa 



This research was funded by the John Fell Fund (103/757) and the World Health Organization (SPHQ12-APW-851). Contributions from Lucie Cluver were supported by a European Research Council (ERC) grant under the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013)/ ERC grant agreement 313421, the Philip Leverhulme Trust (PLP-2014-095), and the ESRC Impact Acceleration Account. We would also like to thank all the parents and practitioners who participated in this study, as well as Ikamva Labantu, the Parent Centre, and Clowns Without Borders South Africa for their collaboration during community consultations and intervention development.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social Policy and InterventionUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK
  2. 2.University College of LondonLondonUK
  3. 3.University of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa
  4. 4.Bangor UniversityBangorUK

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