The Incredible Years® Blog

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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 

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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.







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Incredible News from the Holy Child Program in Palestine

  • from the Holy Child Program Quarterly Report
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Building Our Turtle Shell

This quarter, students finished their unit on problem-solving and started learning about anger management with “Tiny Turtle” in Dina Dinosaur school. As part of the process the students enjoyed building a new turtle shell for school, (our old one finally fell apart). Next they learned how to withdraw into their own shell and calm down. Every student practiced the calm down skills and generating positive solutions. Their classmates were available to coach and congratulate them as they practiced!The students’ homework was to use these skills at home with their friends and family.

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The finished masterpiece!

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Practicing Calm Down Skills

One student told his mother that “Dina Dinosaur school teaches us how to express our feelings.” He shared a specific example of how he used his new skills with his sister. He said: “ I feel hurt when my sister calls me ‘buns’ (fat) and she feels hurt when I call her ‘loser’ My solution is to stop calling her ‘loser’ so she will stop calling me ‘buns’. The mother, needless to say, was thrilled and surprised by her son’s new skills!


One of the HCP teachers shared how surprised she was when one of her students told her he used to be “very naughty” and frequently made “problems” at his previous schools. His teacher told him it was very hard to believe because he was so well behaved at HCP. The student replied; “That’s because you have rules here and Dina School!


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Our Incredible Mothers

In December our mothers from the Group of Peace received certificates for completing the units on positive attention and special time. The group leaders commented on how dedicated this group of mothers is. They are always on time, come with all their homework completed and rarely miss a group. Feedback from the mothers is equally positive. All of the mothers said they had learned to be more patient with their children. Several mothers said they learned to calm down and communicate more with their children. Others identified that they “learned to understand their children’s feelings and how to share their opinions.” One mother shared, “After I thought about the way I raised my children I found that I made many mistakes, but Mothers group (The Incredible Years program) taught me how to deal with my children. I learned how important ‘special time’ is.” The mothers unanimously agreed that talking to other mothers in the group and collaborating with each other was extremely helpful.

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Role Playing How to Coach Children in Mothers Group


Visit the Holy Child Program website to read the full report.

Carolyn Webster-Stratton traveled to the West Bank to see the Incredible Years® implementation at the Holy Child Program (certified by the Palestinian Ministry of Education). They implement Incredible Years® Parent, Teacher, and Child programs. Watch this powerful video of the time Dr. Webster-Stratton spent in West Bank, and interviews with group leaders using the program!

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IY Mentor Jane Davidson’s project a finalist for a 2018 Children & Young People Now Award



Jane Davidson with accredited parent group leader Helen Shorrocks

Our incredible Mentor Jane Davidson’s project with Dorset County Council to deliver the Incredible Beginnings® program was recently a finalist to receive a 2018 Children & Young People Now award.

In their consideration for the award, the Dorset County Council team describes that as a result of the project they have found “improved children’s social and emotional development, improved relationships between parents and children, improvement confidence in practitioners, reduction in challenging behaviour.”

Watch a video testimonial the Dorset County Council team has put together, featuring participant reflections on the Incredible Beginnings® course.

Jane and her colleague Clare Williams are currently delivering their 5th and 6th courses of the Incredible Beginnings program with early years providers in Dorset.

Cheers to Jane’s continued success bringing the Incredible Beginnings® program to teachers of young children in Dorset!

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18th Annual Mentor Meeting, Forcalquier, France

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September 19-21, 2018

Charembeau Hotel, Forcalquier, France

by Carolyn Webster-Stratton



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This year 48 Incredible Years mentors/trainers met at Charembeau Hotel about 2-3 miles from Forcalquier village in France. This beautiful, meditative and relaxing place with panoramic views of the Luberon mountains allowed lovely walks by lavender fields, pear and olive trees, swims in the hotel pool, and breakfasts & lunches together including local croissants, homemade honey from nearby bee hives, fig jam, cheeses, French bread, salads, desserts and more.

All this served as the backdrop for our IY mentor presentations, small group break outs, discussions and practices with Incredible Years friends.

2018 Mentor Meeting Theme: “Tailoring the Incredible Years Programs to Fit…”

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Helping Wally Pack his Tailored Clothes


Carolyn introduced Wally, dressed like a French boy with beret, scarf and purse, who talked to the mentors about his problem with packing all his highly tailored clothes into his suitcase. He said he needed help with packing in a more tailored way because he had all the clothes he thought necessary for dancing, being a detective, calming down, and for sharing his play times and puppets with his favorite mentors. Carolyn reassured him that the mentors would help him tailor his suitcase more efficiently and strategically.


Each morning our days began with presentations related to IY research, dissemination and tailoring of IY programs.

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2018 Mentor Meeting Presenters

Tailoring the Incredible Years Programs to Fit….

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Carolyn presented the metaphor of how IY group leaders, coaches and mentors are not only “builders” with construction tools supporting secure parent-child relationship foundations and “gardeners” providing adequate scaffolding, water and sunshine so the child can grow to its full potential but also are “tailors” whose job it is to make the clothes fit each individual according to their size, shape, culture and preferences. She presented some examples of how to tailor the IY programs when there has been family trauma or marital conflict, as well as how to promote healthy life styles in order to reduce obesity and promote physical health, and how how to tailor programs for families who have children with ADHD and Autism. She talked about the tailor’s tools such as sizing things up and taking accurate measurements, customizing to different body sizes and goals, the importance of using patterns (or protocols), getting good “fittings” with pins, practices and adjustments, to layering and using appropriate materials (selected vignettes), to taking time to untangle thread knots and working through barriers, to getting the right fit and providing space for growth with additional IY programs and sessions. She showed a video of herself tailoring in a training by doing spontaneous role plays addressing different children’s language needs for those who are on the autism spectrum. Carolyn introduced the new program Experts in Action: Tailoring IY for Working with Children on the Autism Spectrum and with Language Delays. Tailoring was the theme or goal for subsequent small group break outs to look at how to tailor the IY programs to participant goals, needs and child developmental status.

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Attachment:  Stephen Scott started with a talk entitled,The Cost of Love: Financial Implications of Insecure Attachment in Antisocial Children. Stephen presented his attachment study and talked about how the IY focus on supporting responsive parenting as well as limit setting is promoting secure attachment which in turn is related to positive outcomes for children.



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Incredible Beginnings: Jane Davidson presented her clinical work and outcomes delivering the Incredible Beginnings (IB) Program to 4 different groups (56 practitioners) involving 38 nurseries and kindergartens and 2770 children in Dorset. See her presentation, “Incredible Beginnings in Dorset, UK”.


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Caroline White and Joanne Singleton presented their Incredible Beginnings program delivery in Brinnington, Stockport, to daycare and preschool teachers and early years providers. See their presentation, “Incredible Beginnings – Brinnington Trial and Evaluation”.


Carolyn opened the day with welcomes to new mentors in training as well as celebrating mentors who have completed accreditation and/or received awards. New materials, publications and translations were reviewed. The rest of the day continued small group breakouts to discuss tailoring in different programs as well as implementation support and review of our time-out message.

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IY Teacher Classroom Management (TCM) Program Research in Norway

Oddbjørn Løndal presented the outcomes of a study evaluating the IY TCM program in kindergarten and school age settings. The effects for the universal sample on problem behavior and social skills especially for 1049 kindergarten children are promising.  See his presentation, “Evaluation of the IY-TCM Program in Norway”.



Carolyn opened the day with a brief overview of the numbers of group leaders trained in the various parent, teacher and child programs by country.  Click to view these pie charts on our web site.  Carolyn shared current numbers of certified Peer Coaches and Mentors around the world, as well.

Ten Years of the Ministry of Parenting

Jeannie speaking 9039.jpgJeannie Gordon presented her Incredible Years story of moving from NHS to developing a not-for-profit community interest company. This allowed her with the help of grants to offer IY programs such as School Age Basic, School Readiness, Autism program and Home Coaching. She presented SDQ data and parent satisfaction outcomes for 219 parents in the last 3 years. She talked about obstacles and successes inspiring her team’s work.  See her presentation,Ten Years of the Ministry of Parenting – Our Incredible Years Story”.


Small Group Research in North Carolina

Desiree speaking 9044.jpgDesiree Murray presented her work with a study evaluating Small Group Dina pull-out sessions in schools for at risk early elementary children. She talked about program adaptations made in consultation with Carolyn, including recess coaching, teacher in-service trainings, parent evening meetings and school counselor inclusion. Her study included 11 diverse schools and 17 groups with 172 students (87 intervention & 85 comparison). Fidelity of program delivery was very high. Satisfaction according to teachers and parents was presented.  See her presentation, “Implementation of the IY Dinosaur School Program for At-Risk Students”.  Stay tuned for outcome measures next year!

New Mentors

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Tatiana, Kate, Joanne, Stephanie, Carolyn, and Andreia

Congratulations to Newly Accredited Mentors

In the past year 6 mentors completed accreditation in their respective program. These included:

  • Astrid Honoré from Denmark (not at conference) for the Basic Parent Program
  • Carolyn Rubenstein and Lindsay Sherman from USA (not at conference) for the Basic Parent Program
  • Joanne Singleton from England
  • For the Teacher Classroom Management Program Stephanie Shepard from USA
  • And for Parent Home Coaching, Kate Rhee from Scotland.
  • Tatiana & Andreia, Mentors-in-process, from Portugal (with paperwork pending)

Small Group Breakouts

Afternoons were spent in small group breakouts sharing video clips of workshops, coaching, and group sessions for various programs. On some days groups met around topics such as Time Out resistance, use of puppets, tailoring role plays, implementation support and video inter-rater reliability. Carolyn led a partial day presentation of the Attentive Parenting Program and Kimberlee covered the IY home coaching model.

Advisory Board

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IY Advisory Board

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IY Advisory Board member Sue Evans with our newest Mentor from Wales, Anne Breese


The advisory board met to discuss peer coach selection and needs as well as accreditation processes.  Sorry the picture above is missing Sue but she is included here with Anne Breese, our newest Mentor from Wales for the Classroom dinosaur program.






Food and Dinners Together

The first night most people met in town for dinner at one restaurant.

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Workshop breakfasts and lunches were served on the hotel deck in the sunshine. The food as well as the staff were truly incredible.




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The second night Stephen and Carolyn hosted a wine and snacks at Stephen’s lovely house including some live music entertainment. The views were amazing as was the company. Afterwards people split up for walks and dinner in small groups.

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Norwegian Team



Workshop Threads

At the end of the 3rd day. The workshop “threads” present the key points learned.

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The final night was a wonderful celebration dinner at L’Esperleuetil Cuisine and Cave on a deck with again amazing views.


Solving Wally’s Problem

Carolyn with Wally travel packs9180.jpgSince the workshop began Wally thought that with all the information he learned from mentors about tailoring his suitcase more strategically plus the help of the new red travel packing cubes he received from Carolyn that he had room in his suitcase to buy some baby shoes, herbs, meringues and a new basket. However, the travel packs were not big enough for everything! What should he do now?





Carolyn Jamila hands up9087.jpgThanks to Jamila for all her incredible organizational skills and to all the Incredible Years mentor team for supporting each other and for making this a successful meeting. I am proud of the IY mentors’ persistence, passion and committed efforts to promote fidelity IY program delivery by tailoring to every parent’s or teacher’s or child’s goals and needs.




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At the Forcalquier market I see all the tools that tailors can choose from. These are just the choice in buttons and below I try to select the color of the threads. Our work is multidimensional, diverse and must be sensitive to preferences and context as well as evidence based strategies. Thank you to all of you. Carolyn

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Invest in Kids receives funding for continued Incredible Years delivery

  • by Lisa Hill, Executive Director, Invest in Kids

Working in close partnership with Invest in Kids (IIK), Colorado has become one of the largest and most successful program replications of The Incredible Years (IY) in the country. IIK has raised $10M in private philanthropy support over 16 years providing IY to 80,000 children and parents by supporting hundreds of teachers, paraprofessionals and parent program facilitators throughout Colorado. The combination of the program’s robust evidence-base and IIK’s value-add supports in Colorado communities has shown consistent positive outcomes.

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IIK has worked with leaders in state government to understand the impact of the program and the opportunity to further scale and sustain the program. Earlier this year, Colorado included IY in the state budget as a direct line item for the first time. The funding, $624,000 in year one and $843,000 in year two and beyond, will support local implementation costs, IIK’s costs (site selection, training, coaching, evaluation) and fiscal intermediary costs at the Colorado Department of Human Services’ Office of Early Childhood. This public-private partnership is core to IIK’s vision for scaling and sustaining evidence-based programs.

Colorado has received national recognition including the July 2018 Results For America, “Invest in What Works: State Standards of Excellence” a roadmap for how state governments can consistently and effectively use data and evidence to achieve better results for their residents, which features Colorado (and Washington) as states recognized for leading the way. Specific to IIK and IY, the National Association of State Budgeting Officers (NASBO) increasing investments in evidence-based programs: citing the use of return on investment data in the budgeting process.

For more information on this funding or to learn more about IY efforts in Colorado, please contact Patrick Sablich, IIK Deputy Director, at

Read the Invest In Kids 2017-2018 statewide outcomes report here.

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Incredible Years in Colin, Northern Ireland

  • by Bernie Donaghy, Colin Transitions Programme Coordinator and accredited IY Parent Group Leader

Over the last two and a half years Incredible Years in Colin has been one of three signature programmes selected by the our Health and Social Care Trust (South Eastern Region) under the Northern Ireland Government’s Social Investment Fund.  In that time period we, in partnership with approximately 15  other agencies in the Colin area, have completed 31 Incredible Years  Programmes which included Basic Parent Programmes,  Toddler Programmes,  School Readiness Programmes plus we are at midpoint of 2 Incredible Years Autism and Language Delay Programmes.  In addition to these Incredible Years Programmes we have teachers from 2 of the Colin schools trained and using the strategies in Teacher Classroom Management, 3 Nursery schools  delivering Incredible Years Dina with a further two venues (1 school and 1 community organisation) joining this delivery in September 18 after their recent Dina Training (June 18),  completed 4 Incredible Years Baby Programmes and 2 Incredible Years ADHD Programmes as part of the Changing Lives Initiative.   Our evaluation of the Incredible Years Programmes are illustrated in the Colin Report Card which show impact.  We have been quite busy over this period.

IMG_4595.JPGOn Thursday 14th June we held a joint Celebration for the parents of the Colin Transitions Programmes  who completed the Incredible Years Parent Programmes and the Partnership with Parents Programme.   Over 100 parents plus facilitators, community leaders, and funders attended the event.  Parents spoke very positively on their experience and how they have implemented the strategies in their home.  Two of the parents gave an over view of their experience of pre, mid and post Incredible Years Programme to the attendees of the Event.  The parents spoke from the heart and the audience was clearly moved by the real life stories they heard.



To learn more about the Colin Neighbourhood Partnership and Early Intervention Community, please visit their website.