There are many theories about the best way to bring up children, but many if not most of these, have not been tested in real life. There is therefore a need to find out what works to make a difference to children’s well-being and success. The National Academy for Parenting Research (NAPR) aims to do this through an ambitious programme of trials of different approaches to the parenting task, with a variety of children and young people. Projects range from testing different approaches for improving children’s social adjustment and reading soon after they have entered primary school, to whether family therapy helps prevent reoffending in adolescents, or whether our in-house programme for foster-carers promotes secure attachment and makes home life easier. As well as the trials, the Academy undertakes fundamental research on issues such as the relative contribution of sensitive responding and limit-setting in promoting secure attachment and reducing disruptive behaviour, and the development of instruments to measure parenting more easily and more accurately. More about the completed research projects can be seen in the website section on Our Research Projects.
The Academy began its research programme in 2007 as part of the National Academy for Parenting Practitioners (NAPP), an organisation set up by the Department for Education, with a grant of £30 million to promote effective practice in parenting support. 4000 practitioners were trained in evidence-based programmes which are estimated to have benefited over 250,000 children in the UK. After this task was done, further training stopped, but Central government funding continued (£7.5 million) for two years until April 2012. Since then, the Academy has become a collaborative of research associates at leading institutions throughout the United Kingdom who share the mission to find out what makes children’s lives better through improved parenting practices. The Academy is now entirely self-funding, having contributed to successfully gaining a wide range of highly competitive grants, to the value of £8.4 million in the three years to April 2015 (see Our Research Grants).
Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs) that we are currently contributing to include:
RCT of New Orleans Model for children taken into care (chief investigator Prof Helen Minnis, Glasgow)
RCT of a program for children with parents with a PD (chief investigator Dr Crispin Day, Maudsley hospital)
RCT of impact of parenting on brain structure and function in Conduct Problems (chief investigator Dr Michael Craig, Institute of psychiatry, King’s College London)
RCT of a program for challenging behaviour and social anxiety problems in children with autism (chief investigator Prof Emily Simonoff, Institute of psychiatry, Kings College London)
RCT individual level meta-analysis of Incredible Years parenting programmes (chief investigator Prof Frances Gardner, Oxford University)
RCT of restorative justice for violence in secondary schools (chief investigator Prof Russell Viner, Institute of Child health, University College London)
RCT of Multisystemic Therapy for children on the edge of care (chief investigator Prof Peter Fonagy, University College London)
RCT of Video-interaction guidance for children under five years of age to prevent the development of behaviour problems (chief investigator Prof Paul Ramchandani, Imperial College London)