A community-based parent-support programme to prevent child maltreatment: Protocol for a randomised controlled trial

Mairead Furlong, Ann Stokes, Sinead McGilloway, Grainne Hickey, Yvonne Leckey, Tracey Bywater, Ciaran O'Neill, Chris Cardwell, Brian Taylor, Michael Donnelly

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2 Citations (Scopus)
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The prevention of child abuse and neglect is a global public health priority due to its serious, long-lasting effects on personal, social, and economic outcomes. The Children At Risk Model (ChARM) is a wraparound-inspired intervention that coordinates evidence-based parenting- and home-visiting programmes, along with community-based supports, in order to address the multiple and complex needs of families at risk of child abuse or neglect. This paper presents the protocol for a study that will be carried out to evaluate this new service model (i.e. no results available as yet). The study comprises a multi-centre, randomised controlled trial, with embedded economic and process evaluations. The study will be conducted in two child-welfare agencies within socially disadvantaged settings in Ireland. Families with children aged 3-11 years who are at risk of maltreatment (n = 50) will be randomised to either the 20-week ChARM programme (n = 25) or to standard care (n = 25) using a 1:1 allocation ratio. The primary outcomes are incidences of child maltreatment and child behaviour and wellbeing. Secondary outcomes include quality of parent-child relationships, parental stress, mental health, substance use, recorded incidences of substantiated abuse, and out-of-home placements. Assessments will take place at pre-intervention, and at 6- and 12-month follow-up periods. The study is the first evaluation of a wraparound-inspired intervention, incorporating evidence-based programmes, designed to prevent child abuse and neglect within high risk families where children are still living in the home. The findings will offer a unique contribution to the development, implementation and evaluation of effective interventions in the prevention of child abuse and neglect.
The trial is registered with the International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Number Register (DOI 10.1186/ISRCTN13644600, Date of registration: 3rd June 2015).
Original languageEnglish
Article number13
Pages (from-to)1-33
Number of pages33
JournalHRB Open Research
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 21 Sept 2018


  • child abuse
  • Parent education
  • randomised control trial
  • Community
  • Ireland


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