Home > Western Region Drugs Task Force multi-agency parents initiative: programme evaluation.

Kinlen, Louise (2013) Western Region Drugs Task Force multi-agency parents initiative: programme evaluation. Galway: Western Region Drugs Task Force.

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This report presents the findings of an external evaluation of the Western Region Drugs Task Force Multi-agency Parents Initiative. The initiative commenced in Galway, in 2009 as a multi-agency and multi-disciplinary response to substance misuse education for parents within a school’s context. It arose as a response to requests from schools to various agencies to provide one-off talks. The initiative developed as a multi-agency programme, co-ordinated by the WRDTF and involving An Garda Síochána, the HSE (Drug Service/Health Promotion) and the Department of Education (SPHE Regional Manager). Secondary schools in Galway, Mayo and Roscommon were invited to take part, and, to date, 81 schools have participated. It involves an initial one-night introductory evening at which presentations are made by the four agencies, followed by a three-night parenting course.

Key findings:
1. The schools who participated were very satisfied with the planning, content and delivery of the training in their schools. Whilst a few expressed some difficulties with recruiting parents, they were generally pleased with the attendance and spoke very positively about how the course was perceived among parents.

2. Through an analysis of the parents’ questionnaires, satisfaction levels were also very high among participants, with a strong appreciation expressed for the dedication of the trainers and hearing the perspectives of the various agencies. Some suggestions for improvement included:
- More emphasis on similar training/topics for young people within school or in a similar format as the parents programme
- Some felt the three-night course was too long
- Many suggested other topics that could have been included, some of which are outside the remit of a substance misuse training programme

3. The interviews with stakeholders involved in the delivery of the initiative also spoke positively about their engagement in the programme and particularly welcomed the multi-agency aspect of it. They felt it offered a more holistic and integrated response and was very strong as a preventative initiative. Some issues identified included:
- The linkages with the implementation of the SPHE curriculum within schools and the involvement of young people was identified by some as requiring strengthening
- The objective of supporting schools in developing a substance misuse policy is one that appears to have been the most challenging.
- The organisation of the initiative in such large geographical areas and including various agencies posed some logistical challenges
. Some felt that pre-planning and organisation took up too much time and others felt that there was not sufficient work put into pre-planning. It was also suggested that more time could be spent on planning of content and approach.

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