Early Help services adopt Triple P Online during COVID-19

The sudden outbreak of Covid-19 and the resulting national lockdown in March 2020 required health and social care services across the country to adapt rapidly. To help Local Authorities who were looking for swift and creative ways to continue supporting families, Triple P UK were able to offer Triple P Online, a direct to parent web-based intervention, as an immediate, cost-effective solution to their needs.

Triple P Online & Teen Triple P Online are two of more than 25 interventions in the Triple P system, and can be deployed in a variety of ways to support the needs of Local Authorities, CCGs, NHS Providers and the third sector. It is the only online programme in the Early Intervention Foundation’s (EIF) guidebook, one of the Government’s “what works” centres, rated as being robustly evidenced, achieving an impressive 3+ evidence rating.

There has been a significant and sustained increase in parent demand for Triple P Online during Covid-19, with data from November 2020 showing an almost tripling of registrations for Triple P Online during the pandemic compared to February 2020. These numbers highlight the increased level of need that families have for an intervention which is flexible and supports the challenging circumstances they have been facing throughout repeated lockdowns, including the extended periods of home-learning, financial pressures and wider stresses.

Two local authorities, Telford and Wrekin Council, and Kirklees Council, both of whom were new users of Triple P, made the decision to roll out Triple P Online early on in the pandemic.

Carol Woodhead, Parenting Team Leader, from Kirklees Council, said:

Going into lockdown last March, we had very large waiting-lists for our parenting programmes, and needed a solution to provide parents with an evidence-based programme they could access whilst face-to-face programmes were unable to go ahead.

We researched online programmes that were available and found that Triple P Online was highly rated by the Early Intervention Foundation and had a robust evidence base that appeared to meet the needs of our Early Support service. This has resulted in our waiting-lists reducing and families continuing to receive the right help at the right time for them.

The parenting team in Kirklees have adapted a ‘wraparound support’ model for their work with families. By using Triple P Online, parents can access the programme at a time that suits them and their family’s needs. This works for separated parents, carers, parents who live apart from their children, parents who work unsocial shifts, and many more. At a time of huge upheaval for so many families, this flexibility has been invaluable and will continue to be so as the UK adapts to the new normal and different working patterns.

Triple P UK have seen how Triple P Online creates a significant increase in reach and access of evidence-based parenting support to help meet demand, and support the needs of families juggling children, working, and schooling at home as well as other significant stressors (financial, relationship, personal, parenting, etc.). Deployment of Triple P Online also offers earlier access to help families stay calm and set up routines for success before problems have a chance to escalate. Practitioners are also able to monitor the progress of families through an online Management System, so they can offer support along the way, and work with parents to achieve the best possible outcomes for their children.

In Telford and Wrekin, Helen Clover, Team Leader for Strengthening Families led on the rollout of Triple P Online during 2020 and through repeated lockdowns. The team had considered buying an online, evidence-based programme for some time, and a key factor in their decision-making was the significant impact Covid-19 was having on the well-being of families with teenagers.

The council has had excellent feedback from parents, who were full of praise for the impact Triple P Online has had for them and their children. Strengthening Families in Telford and Wrekin has identified champions within key locality areas, who are supporting programme delivery, including within the Edge of Care Family Solutions team. For parents, it has been the flexibility of Triple P Online which has resulted in better, more effective engagement with the programme, giving parents time to digest the content at their own pace and when best suits them.

Telford and Wrekin and Kirklees Council both shared many examples of Triple P Online supporting in a diverse range of circumstances, and having a positive impact on families, but one story in particular, of a family in Kirklees, really demonstrates the real-life impact Triple P Online has.

The Parenting Team worked with a teenager living with their grandmother due to ongoing disputes with their mother and stepfather. To ensure parenting in both households was consistent, both the grandmother and mother completed Teen Triple P Online. The accessibility of the online platform meant both the grandmother, and mother learned ways to provide steady and nurturing home environments, enabling greater stability for the child in the long term.

The mother has found the intervention extremely useful and reports that she has learnt to take more interest in what her child is doing, which in turn has helped improve their relationship. She also reports finding Triple P Online easy to complete and that she can work flexibly to finish modules throughout the week.

Kirklees Council reports that having access to the Triple P Online Management System has allowed them to take a more proactive approach with families, to track progress and to identify parents who may need further support. The system enables practitioners to encourage families who are stuck and provide further support as they use key strategies to help their children. Practitioner and parents also work together to explore the impact these strategies are having on others in the family and reflect on what works well for that particular family unit.

You can find out more about Triple P Online here.