Territory Stories

Let's start: a program for Territory parents and children



Let's start: a program for Territory parents and children

Other title

Let's Start parent child program


Robinson, Gary; Mares, Sarah; Jones, Yomei; Stock, Carolin; Hallenstein, Birgit; Branchut, Virginie


E-Publications; E-Books; PublicationNT




This paper describes the 'Let's Start' program for Aboriginal parents and children in the Northern Territory, including its context, rationale, and the evidence of its effectiveness. This program follows on from the 'Ngaripirliga'ajirri - Exploring Together Program' for school aged children in the Tiwi Islands, run from 1999-2004, and the 'Let's Start - Exploring Together for Indigenous Preschools' program for younger children in the Tiwi Islands as well as Darwin, which was run from 2006-2010. Based on this experience, the program has been adapted and redeveloped as the 'Let's Start Parent-Child Program'.; Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).


Centre for Child Development and Education, Menzies School of Health Research

Table of contents

Background -- Introduction -- What is Let's Start? -- Early intervention: context and rationale -- Conclusion: the Let's Start approach -- References.




Children, Aboriginal Australian; Services for; Parenting; Study and teaching

Publisher name

Menzies School of Health Research

Place of publication



21 pages : colour illustrations ; 30 cm.

File type



9781922104021; 9781922104038

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Check within Publication or with content Publisher.

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19Lets Start Parent Child Program Early Intervention: Context and Rationale Restoring children to their parents care, preventing breakdowns of care: Parents inevitably find resumption of a relationship with a child from whom they have been separated extremely challenging. The child may directly or unconsciously challenge the parent through symptomatic behaviours, so that there is high risk of relapse of abuse or breakdown in the restoration. There is a powerful case for support when parents and children are reunited after separations. 2.5 Lets Start: Research & resource development Lets Start is the outcome of research and development at the Menzies Centre for Child Development and Education. The research program is an ongoing evidencebased action research project that aims to investigate the effective implementation of early intervention programs for families in diverse communities and service settings in order to address important questions about what works best for families and children of the Northern Territory. The primary research questions relate to the investigation of the effectiveness of early intervention during the transition to school and beyond. The next stage of Lets Start is an evaluation of the implementation of Lets Start in schools, in conjunction with a wholeschool approach to social-emotional learning including school-based social skills training for children. The science of implementation requires testing of models and approaches that include evaluation of more than just the effects of the program on individuals. Development of manuals, training and resources to support effective practice are a critical focus. Culturally adapted interventions should not be developed in an ad hoc way, but need a firm theoretical basis with ongoing supports to ensure that high quality practices are achieved and can be sustained. The research models under trial entail quality improvement mechanisms that support reflective practice and that are achievable in partnership between Menzies and participating schools and communities. Professional and community leaders participate in a training program prior to delivering Lets Start and are introduced to the Program Manual. The Manual outlines the weekly program of activities for parents and children and provides notes for group leaders on group process and on therapeutic issues that may arise. During the course of program delivery regular external supervision is provided to group leaders by a senior clinician with experience in work with children and families. Group leaders have varied professional backgrounds and experiences and supervision during the group process is both eclectic and supportive in nature. Supervision provides an opportunity to process the experience of delivering the program and to review strategies and practices pertaining to each parent and child. Parents or children may make disclosures within the group that are distressing or alarming. In such cases, questions of safety, child protection concerns and mandatory reporting obligations need to be addressed. Through Lets Start, the Centre for Child Development and Education is developing models for practice that have wide application across sectors that require close work with children and families.