Narratives and processes: Developing a responsive parent–child program to empower local facilitators in a remote Aboriginal community

Carolin Stock, Maggie Kerinaiua Punguatji, Carmen Cubillo, Gary Robinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article presents the results of a retrospective study that critically examines the development of a responsive parent–child program from conceptualisation to pilot implementation. The development of the Play to Connect program was a continuation of research translation work of the Let’s Start parenting program which was delivered in remote Aboriginal communities across the Northern Territory, Australia from 2005–2016. The impetus for the Play to Connect program came from the community need for parenting support that could be delivered by local Aboriginal workers living in the community. The aim was to bring research and community together through the co-creation of contextually relevant knowledge directly useful for local Aboriginal facilitators. Embedded in a dynamic cycle of planning, delivery, observation and reflection, the team of local Aboriginal staff and visiting practitioners designed and piloted an innovative, user-friendly and adaptable parent–child program which was underpinned by the evaluation findings of an existing program, drawing on the framework of play therapy. The 2.5 year long process of development brought about action and change for the local Aboriginal staff. They valued the co-creation of the program and resources and reported increased knowledge of child development and confidence to deliver family support in their community. This study shows that the development of Play to Connect was more than “tailoring” a parenting program – it was a way of creating sustainable support around a program to increase the chances of continuity of implementation and successful community engagement and development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)160-176
Number of pages17
JournalQualitative Social Work
Issue number1
Early online date3 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


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