Costs and economic consequences of Parent Pioneers, a pilot Mellow Futures programme for mothers with learning difficulties

Author: Bauer, A. & Williams, G.
Year: 2015
Reference Type: Report
Editor: Personal Social Services Research Unit
Journal/Book Title: PSSRU Discussion Paper 2903
City: London
Publisher: London School of Economics
Abstract: The Mellow Futures programme is a group based parenting programme that has been adapted to specifically meet the needs of parents with learning difficulties. It was developed by the Parent Pioneers project and piloted in 2014 in two local authorities: Islington and Northumberland. Mellow Futures consists of two distinct parts spanning the time from the ante- to postnatal period, and is adapted from Mellow Parenting’s Mellow Bumps and Mellow Babies programmes (http://www.mellowparenting.org/). Whilst the antenatal group is a six weeks course that aims to help mothers-to-be identify their own needs and to access support in pregnancy and after birth, the postnatal group aims to provide parents with the support they need to develop strong relationships with their newborn babies and lasts 14 weeks. Although mothers and mothers-to-be were encouraged to participate in both parts of the programme, they could also participate in only one part. A particular component of Mellow Futures is that in addition to the professionally run courses, mothers were offered support from a mentor. The mentor was trained to help mothers implement their learning in their home environment and to connect with and utilize support in their local community. A full description of the Mellow Futures Programme can be found in the project evaluation report ‘Mellow Futures: Parent Pioneers pilot programme evaluation’ (Tarleton and Turner 2015). This report presents estimates of the costs and economic consequences of the two pilots of the Mellow Futures programme. The aim of this study was to understand whether Mellow Futures as run in these two different localities in England was likely to be cost-effective. In order to understand whether an intervention is cost-effective, three components need to be known: the costs of providing the intervention, the outcomes achieved by the intervention and the economic consequences. A qualitative analysis of the outcomes of the programme was carried out by the Norah Fry Research Centre and findings are presented in ‘Mellow Futures: Parent Pioneers pilot programme evaluation’ (Tarleton and Turner 2015). The focus of this analysis was an examination of the costs of the programme and their economic consequences. The latter included the costs linked to referrals for additional support made by the programme staff or cost savings because of prevented service use. Based on previous research of early intervention for parents with learning difficulties during pregnancy and after birth, it was expected that identifiable cost savings would refer primarily to potentially prevented child protection and placement activities (Bauer et al. 2015). In this report, the term 'parents with learning difficulties' is used throughout the document to describe parents who may have a diagnosed learning disability or a milder impairment which causes them difficulties in coping with everyday life.
Located in: Parent education

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