Global Social Welfare

, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 199–207 | Cite as

Parenting Programs for Underserved Populations in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: Issues of Scientific Integrity and Social Justice

  • Ana A. BaumannEmail author
  • Anilena Mejia
  • Jamie M. Lachman
  • Ruben Parra-Cardona
  • Gabriela López-Zerón
  • Nancy G. Amador Buenabad
  • Eunice Vargas Contreras
  • Melanie M. Domenech Rodríguez


Research suggests that parenting programs are effective for preventing behavioral and emotional difficulties in children, but a lot more attention needs to be paid to issues of context and culture during the development, testing, and implementation of these interventions. The views and needs of underserved and disenfranchised communities in the USA and the Global South are often not taken into account for the development and testing of interventions. The successful implementation of evidence-based interventions for vulnerable children and families in underserved and marginalized communities requires careful consideration of how existing paradigms of prevention, evaluation, and implementation science impact issues of social justice and equity. This paper will describe how a team of parenting program researchers has been collaborating with their partners globally in generating local knowledge by balancing the need for rigorous scientific methods with issues of power. Authors from the USA, Latin America, Africa, and Southeast Asia draw on their experiences regarding challenges and successes with issues regarding study design and measurement, the transferability and adaptation of interventions, and the dissemination and implementation of different parenting interventions while placing communities at the center of their efforts through participatory methods. We describe innovative approaches that span the continuum of intervention development, adaptation, optimization, evaluation, implementation, and scale-up of different parenting programs for vulnerable children and families across the world. We conclude by offering specific and pragmatic recommendations to increase access of culturally relevant and effective parenting programs in these communities.


Global mental health Parenting Scale up Scale out Implementation 



This study was funded by 3U01HL133994-02S1, 1U24HL136790-01, 1R01HG009351-01A1, 3 UL1 RR024992-09, K01-MH066297, K01 DA036747;South African National Lottery [43137], UNICEF Philippines, UNICEF Tanzania, and UBS Optimus Fund [7905] .

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

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.

Informed Consent

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


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ana A. Baumann
    • 1
    Email author
  • Anilena Mejia
    • 2
  • Jamie M. Lachman
    • 3
    • 4
  • Ruben Parra-Cardona
    • 5
  • Gabriela López-Zerón
    • 6
  • Nancy G. Amador Buenabad
    • 7
  • Eunice Vargas Contreras
    • 8
  • Melanie M. Domenech Rodríguez
    • 9
  1. 1.Washington University in St. LouisSt. LouisUSA
  2. 2.Instituto de Investigaciones Científicas y Servicios de Alta Tecnología (INDICASAT)Panama CityPanama
  3. 3.Centre for Evidence-Based Interventions, Department of Social Policy and InterventionUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK
  4. 4.MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences UnitUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowUK
  5. 5.Steve Hicks School of Social Work, The University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA
  6. 6.Michigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  7. 7.Instituto Nacional de Psiquiatría Ramón de la Fuente MuñizMexico CityMexico
  8. 8.Universidad Autónoma de Baja CaliforniaEnsenadaMexico
  9. 9.Utah State UniversityLoganUSA

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