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29 February 2016


The 2016 Helping Families Change Conference, held in Canada this year, featured a keynote speech by Triple P founder Professor Matt Sanders, who stressed the need for evidence-based parenting programs to continue to evolve.

Professor Sanders, who is also Director of the Parenting and Family Support Centre, University of Queensland, gathered along with almost 300 parenting experts in the Rocky Mountains town of Banff for the three-day conference, which brought together policy makers, researchers, medical practitioners, educators, students and frontline family support workers.


Delegates represented 11 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, Chile, the Netherlands, Australia and Canada.


In his opening address Professor Sanders also said:


  • Understanding what competent parenting means should be broader than the five principles of the Triple P program.  He said it should also include things like encouraging positive peer relationships and being a positive parent across a lifespan.
  • One of the best possible virtues of positive parenting is that it helps reduce children's exposure to adverse childhood experiences. These experiences are shown to have significant and negative implications for children as they grow older.
  • The evidence supporting any intervention should always continue to evolve. It is important that evidence should include independent evaluation and transparency, especially with respect to disclosing conflict of interest.


Triple P is considered the world’s most extensively evaluated parenting program, with more than 200 evaluation papers in its evidence base, with almost 100 of those being independent evaluations.


Others speakers delivering presentations, workshops and symposia at the conference included:


  • Dr Charlotte Johnson, professor in the clinical psychology program at the University of British Columbia, who presented research findings into ADHD and its impact on families;  
  • Dr Orla Doyle, Research Fellow at the UCD Geary Institute for Public Policy, who discussed the Irish trial of Parenting for Life – an early intervention program that combines home visits and parenting support for women from the time of pregnancy until the child starts school; and
  • Marie-Claire Leese and Wendy Toner, from the National Health Service in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, whose workshop shared practical learning outcomes from a Triple P rollout in Glasgow.


PHOTO: View from the main lecture theatre at the Helping Families Change Conference, Banff Centre, Canada.