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Manchester CAPS highlighted in House of Commons report on early intervention

Caroline White.jpgHappy 21st Birthday CAPS! The Children And Parents’ Service in Manchester is one of the longest sustainable implementations of Incredible Years in the world.

Following IY Trainer Caroline White’s appointment as Specialist Advisor to the House of Commons Select Committee for Science and Technology on Early Intervention, the committee has published it’s report, highlighting CAPS’ implementation of Incredible Years parenting groups as a model example of early intervention services.

The committee writes:

The Children and Parents Service (CAPS) in Manchester has been identified by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence as a service that has achieved success in recognising and managing antisocial behaviour and conduct disorders in children and young people. CAPS is a jointly commissioned, multi-agency, early intervention service for pre-school children and their families. The service identifies early social and emotional problems in pre-school children, provides thorough psychological assessment for them and then offers intervention as appropriate. Families can be initially referred to the CAPS service from multi-agency staff across the early years workforce; CAPS psychologists provide one day training to frontline staff to improve communication across the workforce and establish referral pathways as well as to develop a consistent approach to parent support strategies across the workforce. CAPS also conducts outreach work to raise awareness and engage with local families. Referred families are assessed using the Eyberg Child Behaviour Inventory, the Beck Depression Inventory and the Abidin Parenting Stress Index as standardised and validated outcome tools to measure child behaviour problems, parental depression and parental stress respectively, as well as the ‘Index of Need’ tool to identify families at risk of developing any of these problems. Where families meet the thresholds for intervention, CAPS uses the ‘Incredible Years’ Parent Programmes, a series of evidence-based interventions which focus on:

  • strengthening parenting competencies to improve the parent-child relationship; 
  • promoting children’s academic, emotional and social skills; and 
  • reducing conduct problems. 

CAPS additionally provides ‘wrap-around’ support to help families complete the courses, such as the provision of childcare or interpreting services, and aims to offer seamless access to other services from which families would benefit. 

High parent retention rates are achieved by the programme, with around 81% completing it. As well as reducing the prevalence of clinical conditions and the proportion of families at risk of developing clinical problems, the programme was found to also help parents engage in work or education. Three months after completing the course, 24% of parents were back in work, 21% were attending college and 10% were doing voluntary work.

Between September 2017 and August 2018, CAPS delivered 75 Incredible Years parent courses to approximately 989 parents of 0–4 year olds. The impact of these interventions, as determined by the proportions of families in the clinical ranges for each of the outcome measures before and after the intervention, are shown in table below.

Impact of CAPS intervention on clinical conditions and risk factors 

Screen Shot table.jpg

Cheers to Dr. Caroline White and the Manchester CAPS team!

Read the full report at:  House of Commons Science and Technology Committee (2018). Evidence-based Early Years Intervention. London: House of Commons.  

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Meet our new puppets!

  • Message from Carolyn (Wally and Molly’s grandmother)

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Dina and Felicity

You may already have enjoyed using our Dina Dinosaur puppets made by Axtell Expressions, Inc. Now we have worked with Axtell to design new Incredible Years child puppets just for us. We love them because they have lifelike skin materials and latex heads, great hair styles, bigger hand glove grip areas and are readily available, with a very short wait time for custom manufacture. Here are a few things we want you to know that will make your puppet child feel happy.


Check out a video with our new Wally and Dina Dinosaur!


Dressing Your Child Puppet

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Wally & Molly

Your Incredible Years puppets love 2nd hand clothes that other children have worn because then they know they are cool. Their shirt size is medium and pants are toddler size 4. Shoe size is about 4-5, but other sizes work too. If you have a uniform in your school, the puppets proudly wear the school uniform and follow the dress code so they can fit in with their friends. Also the puppets love to wear sports team shirts from your local team. If they are in a class where children are wearing clothes for religious or cultural reasons, like the hijab or yarmulke, they like to wear what others are wearing in order to be respectful of the beliefs in the classroom they are visiting.


Using Your Puppet


Luciana & Antonio

In general you want your puppet’s eyes on the children with head tilted downward. You can make your puppet seem more engaging and life-like with head and arm movements. Help your puppet speak by moving his mouth, especially the lower jaw keeping the upper jaw still. You can use your own voice or make up a voice especially for your puppet. You don’t need to be an expert puppeteer. As long as you are playful and having fun, the children will be mesmerized and will love the puppet. You can name your puppet yourself or you can use the Wally Detective Book names of the puppets such as Wally Problem Solver or Molly Manners or Freddy and Felicity Feelings. Your puppet will respond to love and humor and is comfortable expressing his or her feelings about life events.


Introducing Your Puppet to the Children


Freddy & Felicity

Teacher/Therapist: I wanted to introduce you to a new friend who will join us sometimes in our groups.

Puppet: Hi there, I am … e.g., Felicity Feelings, or Wally Problem Solver or Molly Manners. I am so glad you decided to adopt me as I was looking for a warm, loving school to belong to and I am eager to make some friends, although a bit nervous about that.

Teacher/Therapist: Can you tell us something about yourself.

Puppet: I am 5 years old and just moved here with my mother and my dog. I hope you will like me. How do you like my hair? Do you think I will make friends here?

Teacher/Therapist: We are all friendly here and happy to have you. Your hair is very cool. I am sure you will feel less nervous when you get to know everyone. Could someone say something nice to welcome our puppet friend?

Children: We are glad you’re here. Or, I want to be your friend?

Teacher: See, these children want to get to know you. What do you like to do?

Puppet: Well I love to play baseball but I am worried because I can’t read yet.

Teacher/Therapist: How many other kids here like baseball?

Children: (put up their hands)

Teacher/Therapist: Many other kids are just learning to read too. So we will read together and you will have friends who can help you too.  You will learn to read just like you learned to play baseball.

Puppet: I already feel less nervous and lucky you invited me to be here.  I am so excited to meet everyone and learn what they like to do.

More information on our puppets is available on our website.