Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 27, Issue 5, pp 1650–1660 | Cite as

Parental Mental Illness: Cross-Sectional Analysis Of Family Focused Practice within the Early Childhood Sector

  • Stella LaletasEmail author
  • Melinda Goodyear
  • Andrea Reupert
Original Paper


During the preschool years (3–5 years), children living with parental mental illness are more at risk of various adverse developmental outcomes, compared to other children. Early childhood services are opportune settings for prevention and early intervention strategies that may support preschool children living with parental mental illness. However, there is limited research examining how the early childhood sector supports the child, parent and family. The aim of the study was to explore family focused practices within the early childhood sector in terms of the level of self-perceived knowledge, skill and confidence; and compare the self-perceived knowledge, skill and confidence between preschool teachers and childcare workers. A sample of 40 preschool teachers and 39 childcare providers rated themselves across eight domains that describe their knowledge, confidence and skill using the Family Focused Mental Health Practice Questionnaire (FFMHPQ). Overall, the sample rated themselves positively across all domains. In a cross-sectional analysis, a t-statistic comparison of preschool teachers and childcare providers showed that childcare providers scored significantly higher than preschool teachers in parenting support, referrals and assessing the impact of parental illness on the child. Future studies might identify the barriers and enablers for Family Focus Practice (FFP) across different groups of workers in the early childhood sector.


Author Contributions

In the case of Manuscript JCFS-D-16-00526, the nature and extent of the author contribution to the work was the following: S.L.: Designed and executed the study, conducted the data analysis and wrote the paper. M.G.: collaborated with the design, assisted with the data analysis and wrote part of the results. A.R.: collaborated with the design and writing and editing of the final manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Ethical Approval

Ethical approval was provided by the Monash University Human Ethics Committee. Reasearch involving human participants: All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Monash University, Faculty of EducationMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Monash University, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, School of Rural HealthMelbourneAustralia

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