Sinovuyo Caring Families Programme

Sinovuyo Caring Families Programme – Be inspired

In a nutshell

The Sinovuyo Caring Families Programme is a culturally-relevant, evidence-informed, and low-cost intervention for parents of 2- to 9-year-olds to reduce child behaviour problems, reduce harsh parenting, and increase positive parenting. The programme is currently being evaluated via a randomised controlled trial with 296 caregiver-child dyads in Khayelitsha and Nyanga. 

What we do

In South Africa, many parents are exposed to multiple challenges, including violence, ill-health, and poverty, that may increase the risk of poor parenting and child maltreatment. The Sinovuyo Caring Families Programme aims to strengthen the relationship between caregiver and child by increasing positive parenting and decreasing harsh, ineffective discipline strategies. The programme also targets a range of secondary outcomes including parental mental and social support.

In order to determine whether programme outcomes are being achieved, the programme is currently being evaluated. The development and evaluation of the programme is collectively known as the Sinovuyo Caring Families Project. This project is run in collaboration with academic institutions (Universities of Cape Town, Bangor, and Oxford) and local community-based NGOs (Clowns Without Borders South Africa,, and Ikamva Labantu,, within a broader partnership with the World Health Organisation and the South African government.

How we do it

The Sinovuyo Caring Families Programme is a 12-session group-based intervention for caregivers of 2- to 9-year olds with difficult behaviour. The programme is based on international evidence on what works in parenting interventions and combines this with culturally-relevant delivery approaches. The programme takes a collaborative and skills-based approach, including role-playing, storytelling and song. Programme content focuses on first developing a nurturing and positive relationship with your child and then moves onto managing misbehavior. Home visits are also incorporated into the programme for those participants that require additional support or who miss sessions. The programme is implemented by community-based workers with a background in early childhood development.

What we have achieved

The programme is currently being evaluated via a randomised controlled trial which includes 296 caregiver-child dyads. This trial has followed on from a pilot randomised controlled trial, which was conducted in 2013 and included 68 cargiver-child dyads. Both trials have included parent self-report as well as observational assessments of parent-child interaction.

Results from the pilot study indicate that the programme led to a significant improvement in levels of positive parenting. Observational data showed a significant increase in child-led play in the intervention group. These are very promising findings, especially since the sample size was relatively small. The results from the larger trial, which will include a 1-year follow-up of participants, will be available in mid-2016.

What we have learned

Formative work is central to the development of a culturally-appropriate intervention.

Findings from the pilot study indicate the feasibility of conducting a rigorous evaluation of a parenting program in a low-resource context. This is encouraging as it not only supports the implementation of our larger trial, but encourages other programs to be evaluated.