A social network that delivers the University of Queensland’s Triple P – Positive Parenting Program to at-risk parents in Los Angeles has been recognised with a major technology award.
The Triple P Online Community programmed by Brisbane digital agency Liquid Interactive won the educational category of the Queensland iAwards.
It’s now in the running to win the national award.
Development of the online community platform was funded by US philanthropic organisation the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to help parents identified as being at risk of harming or abusing their children.
The social network uses gaming technology, discussion boards and facilitation by a certified Triple P provider to deliver the online version of the Triple P – Positive Parenting Program, Triple P Online, developed by The University of Queensland’s Dr Karen Turner and Prof Matt Sanders.
Its effectiveness is being monitored in a trial by the California State University, Northridge, and the University of Queensland.
“The online community program is currently under trial in Los Angeles with predominantly African American and Hispanic parents,’’ Karen Turner, the Deputy Director of the Parenting and Family Support Centre, University of Queensland, said.
“These families are very poor. Three-quarters of the parents are on an income of less than $15,000 per year and most are relying on food stamps. A quarter of them have children placed in foster care, more than half are single parents and 40 per cent have been in jail.’’
Dr Turner said despite some technical issues with getting broadband connections in the community agencies, parents loved the program.
The collaboration around the online community in California has been driven by Dr Susan Love, a professor at California State University.
“The whole point is to provide parents with the tools they need to make the right decisions for their families so that their children grow up in loving, supportive, healthy environments,’’ Professor Love said. “These parents need to be able to learn to make good decisions for themselves, not be dependent on others.’’
Professor Love is hoping that if the online community in Los Angeles proves successful, it could be replicated across the US.
The Triple P Online parent training program has been evaluated in four randomised controlled trials in Brisbane, Perth, Auckland and New York.
It has been adopted by several not-for-profit community agencies such as Family Lives UK and government departments, including Families New South Wales. Triple P Online will be available for direct purchase by parents later this year.
Dr Turner said the rollout of Triple P Online gave parents who were isolated, time-poor or unable to attend existing training programs another avenue to access Triple P’s evidence-based support.