The Incredible Years® Blog

Leave a comment

The Early Start Project in New Zealand brings the Incredible Years Toddler Program to High Needs Families

  • by John Horwood

Early Start is an early intervention home visitation service for high needs families with young children based in Christchurch, New Zealand. The service was developed in the mid-1990s and is run by a consortium that includes the Christchurch Health and Development Study Research Group, University of Otago; the Canterbury branch of the New Zealand Plunket Service, The Pegasus GP Group; Māori community representatives; and representatives from social services.

pic 1 NZ


Facilitators current and former, L-R: Janine Harrison, Fiona Hayes, Lucy Ragg and Jo Waddingham on May 2nd 2017.


The Early Start service comprises a system of home-based family support and visitation provided by trained family support workers. Their task is to empower and assist families to address wide-ranging issues relating to child health and welfare, parenting and family functioning. Depending on the level of need families may remain enrolled with the service for up to five years.

Early Start currently works with around 300 families, supported by funding from the Government Ministry of Social Development and the Canterbury District Health Board.

The service is recognized as a flagship program within the suite of Government funded early intervention services and the outcomes achieved by Early Start have been used to benchmark the performance of other services funded under the Government’s Family Start initiative.

In 2012 Early Start implemented Incredible Years® Toddler as an adjunct to the core service to provide additional assistance to parents who were experiencing severe parenting difficulties. Recently an evaluation of the implementation of Incredible Years® Toddler was conducted using information gathered on a total of 75 families who were offered places in parenting courses over the period from 2012-2015.

Findings showed evidence of small but pervasive benefits of participation in the toddler program reflecting:

  • Reductions in the use of negative/ineffective parenting strategies and increased use of positive/effective strategies
  • More positive attitudes to parenting and fostering child development
  • Increased parenting satisfaction and self-efficacy
  • Improvements in child behavior

Participating parents also reported very high levels of satisfaction with the program and program facilitators.

nz pic 2

Facilitators: Jo Waddingham and Lucy Ragg with parents at Session #9 on May 2nd 2017.

Based on these findings Early Start has now moved to cement Incredible Years® Toddler as a core component of the service.

See our evaluation report on the implementation of Incredible Years® Toddler Program.

For further information on the Early Start service go to



Leave a comment

The Genesis Programme in Ireland: An Area Based Approach Delivering Incredible Years to Children, Families and Communities

  • by Hugh Doogan
Wally with children in orchestra.jpeg

Wally & Molly bring music and joy to school

The Genesis Programme – which is a consortium of over 50 Partner Organisations – delivers the Incredible Years® suite of programmes to children, families and communities in areas of entrenched disadvantage in Dundalk and Drogheda in Co Louth, Ireland.

children from ireland.jpegThe consortium includes early years settings, primary schools, a range of statutory health and children’s services as well as other key stakeholders including the local third level institution, Dundalk Institute of Technology.

Dundalk and Drogheda are two regional towns Co Louth – Ireland’s smallest county – each with a population of just over 30,000.

The vision of The Genesis Programme is to measurably improve the well-being and development outcomes for children aged pre-birth to six years of age in the targeted areas by implementing The Incredible Years® suite of programmes with fidelity using an agreed area based approach.

The programme is funded by the Department of Children & Youth Affairs and Atlantic Philanthropies. The lead agency is Louth Leader Partnership who provide governance and are the employers of the six strong Project Team. The work is overseen by a Management Group and there is an Executive who have devolved responsibility for Staffing Matters, Finance, Office Administration, Tenders and other ongoing matters.

In 2016, four new Area Coordination Teams (ACTs) were set up to support the ongoing development of the initiative in local areas to allow for greater coordination at a local level and to facilitate embedding programme delivery in the respective communities.

The Genesis Programme is two years into implementation now and in that time have delivered over 200 IY programmes including Small Group Dina, Classroom Dina, Teacher Classroom Management, the Parent Baby Programme, the Toddler Programme and the Basic Parent Programme.

In July 2016, the early years practitioners from the Redeemer Crèche & Playgroup became the first group in the world to complete the Incredible Beginnings ™ programme.teachers with Wally.jpeg

This year, The Genesis Programme is delivering their first School Readiness Programme and Autism Spectrum & Language Delays Programme for Parents.

A large number of Group Leaders are trained across the various programmes, many of whom are now accredited or on their way to accreditation and there are three Peer Coaches in training.

The work is ongoing but there is no doubt that that the programmes are having an impact on the children and families as emerging research and evaluation findings are showing.

View practitioners with the Genesis Programme speak about their experiences using Incredible Years Programs in their community.

For more information on The Genesis Programme please visit

Leave a comment

Ministry of Parenting Report on two pilot Incredible Years® Autism Spectrum and Language Delays Programs

22 parents of children on the autism spectrum, ages 2-8, participated in 12 sessions of the IY Parent Autism Program delivered by Jeannie Gordon, an IY Parent Basic Group Leader Mentor in Essex, England. 20 of 22  parents reported positive or highly positive satisfaction scores on the outcome evaluation measure. All but 2 parents reported significant stress reduction on the Autism Parent Stress Index. Many parents wanted the program to continue or to be longer. See their report for parents’ comments and graphs of results and population demographics.

Leave a comment

Seattle hosted an Incredible Years® Peer Coaching Training December 8-9, 2016

By Carolyn Webster-Stratton Ph.D.

Nine accredited group leaders with extensive Incredible Years group experience came to Seattle from Rhode Island; Colorado;pc1 Pennsylvania; Kentucky; Canada; California; and New York for a 2-day peer coach training with IY Trainers Carolyn Webster-Stratton and Jamila Reid.

We are excited that they will be coaching new IY group leaders in their agencies and helping them to become accredited in Incredible Years Programs. They, too, will be working on their own accreditation as IY peer coaches by sending in DVDs of their coaching process.

See link about peer coaching

Why are peer coaches needed?

Research has shown that traditional, brief, single shot, didactic training workshops with passive participation are ineffective in changing therapist behavior. Rather, longer, quality, active training workshops have been shown to lead to increased therapist proficiency and intervention adherence and fidelity. However, despite the fact that the 3-day Incredible Years workshops are based on a collaborative, experiential, and self-reflective approach that receive very positive evaluations, there is still a need for group leaders to have consultation and coaching post workshop training. Studies have shown that new learners of evidence-based programs are often are unsure of their themselves and question new techniques or strategies. We find that many new IY group leaders are uncertain about how to use the collaborative leadership process with groups, select appropriate vignettes for particular groups, and mediate vignettes to trigger active role play practices, reflection and problem-solving. In some ways the 3-day workshop is like learning to swim on dry land and starting to lead groups is like jumping into the water to practice actually swimming. These new swimmers need additional support (and floats) as they practice the new strokes.pc2

Learning something new starts with a “survival phase” before achieving a state where new knowledge and skills are consistently and successfully applied and adapted. Studies have found that combining ongoing coaching, video feedback and consultation to quality training workshops improves the adoption of innovation, retention of therapist/group leader proficiency and intervention delivery fidelity (Herschell, Kolko, Baumann, & Davis, 2010; Webster-Stratton, Reid, & Marsenich, 2014). If group leaders/therapists reach proficient levels in adherence/competence in delivery of the program and have adequate consultation, coaching and organizational support, it possible to achieve better outcomes with clients. If therapists/group leaders lack support, then it is unlikely clients will receive the benefits that were reported in the original research.

What is peer coaching?

Coaching is non-evaluative feedback based on observation. A peer coach is someone who is learner-centered and supportive, builds on pc3group leader’s strengths, observes and monitors their skills and interpersonal processes, prompts or models skills/thoughts and self-reflections according to group leader’s goals, sets up behavioral practices and promotes their use of strategic behavior plans, and encourages, praises and reinforces group leader steps in the right direction.

Key coach roles include: relationship building, assuring group leader evidence-based knowledge, assuring quality group leader methods and processes, promoting certification/accreditation and a supportive infrastructure.


Herschell, A. D., Kolko, D. J., Baumann, B. L., & Davis, A. C. (2010). The role of therapist training in the implementation of psychosocial treatments: A review and critique with recommendations. Clinical Psychology Review, 30, 448-466.

Webster-Stratton, C., Reid, J., & Marsenich, L. (2014). Improving Therapist Fidelity During Evidence-Based Practice Implementation Psychiatric Services, 65(6), 789-795.

Leave a comment

West to East…International Conference on Parenting in the 21st Century

By Carolyn Webster-Stratton

IY Developer, Carolyn Webster-Stratton, speaking at the Parenting in the 21st Century International Conference in Hong Kong.


I was invited to give a plenary address October 20-22, 2016 in Hong Kong at an International Conference entitled Parenting in the 21st Century. The faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Hong Kong in collaboration with the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals hosted this event to discuss ways to support Hong Kong parents who work long hours and feel pressure to help their children succeed academically amid the stress of insufficient child care, poverty, high unemployment and a high cost of living. Hong Kong is a city of 7.5 million people living in 427.5 square miles. It is the world’s fourth most densely populated territory.

Major changes in the Hong Kong family over the past 50 years such as more gender equality, later marriages, decreased fertility, and more women than men enrolled in university are associated with increased divorce, more non marital childbearing and a wider discrepancy between the privileged and less privileged social classes. The widening achievement gap and socioeconomic inequality echoes the problems in the United States and seems to be a global phenomenon. And like the US, the middle class families struggle trying to support their children for higher university education without the financial resources to make this happen. In turn the youth experience the stress and competition of school as well as the future challenge of caring for their elderly parents. All of this sounds remarkably familiar to me.

Parenting in the 21st Century International Conference in Hong Kong, October 20-22, 2016.


Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, the Hong Kong secretary for labour and welfare talks in his presentation about the 3 C’s Caring, Compassion, and Cohesiveness. Certainly this interdisciplinary Hong Kong conference coordinating committee demonstrate the 3 C’s in their every action. They manage a typhoon closing down the conference midstream for one day with grace and calmness. While my presentation is delayed until the next day I am surprised on a Saturday to see a full room of participants. I hoped to make the case in my presentation for the importance of responsive and caring parenting as an antidote to all the other stressors that parents and children are coping with. Most important seems finding ways for families to give children more playful and loving child-directed time and attention rather than too much pressure to perform.


Earlier in the year we had offered an IY parent training workshop in Hong Kong picture of group and I was thrilled to talk with Kitty Heung, a social worker about her experiences delivering the program.

IY trainer, Julie Andersen, and new IY group leaders.


From left to right: Carolyn Webster-Stratton, Terri Au, Sandra Tsang, Kitty Heung.


She reported that parents were engaged and drop out rates pretty low. Also I got to meet Maureen Kong a psychologist who had done her dissertation evaluating the Incredible Years basic parenting program as well as her professor Terry Au. Happily, Maureen has some nice results. The conference concluded with an amazing second Dim Sum lunch. The conference co-coordinators Professor Samson Tse and Dr. Margaret Wong have done a fantastic job with organizing this conference and their kite theme seems an apt way to depict the idea of letting children fly safely with parental emotional support, play, and flexibility.

Maureen Kong and Carolyn Webster-Stratton.


Samson Tse and Margaret Wong.



Wishing Hong Kong continued support with flying their kites of promoting evidence-based programs with success including families and schools.

Leave a comment

2016 International IY Mentor Meeting: Promoting Diversity

Thanks to the Dutch IY team at the University of Utrecht with the special help of mentors Marte and Maartje, 48 mentors met in beautiful Utrecht for the yearly IY 3-day international meeting , taking place September 28-30.

Day #1

mmCarolyn opened the day by reviewing new IY interventions and translations as well as showing some pie charts of the number of group leaders trained and accredited in different countries according to specific programs. She talked about the importance of promoting diversity of IY program delivery along dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, religious beliefs, political beliefs, SES status, sexual orientation or other ideologies.

cShe introduced Ibdah Inclusive a puppet who is having problems integrating in her new country. Mentors were encouraged to share with each other how they promote diversity in IY programs.

The new mentors-in-training were introduced to the group. These included Andreia Azevedo and Tatiana Homem from Portugal, Jens Andersen from New Zealand, Joanne Singleton from Manchester and Judah Racham from London.


Six people completed their mentor training accreditation. For the Basic Parent Program Maria Filomena Gaspar, Maria-Joao Seabra Santos in from Portugal, Line Moller from Denmark and Sigrid Ness from Norway. Sue Evans completed the Parent Autism Program and Anne Breese the Classroom Dina Program from Wales.


walterThe first day the mentors join with the European IY group to hear about the latest research. Walter Matthys who first brought Carolyn Webster-Stratton to the University of Utrecht for a symposium over 15 years ago began with a reflection on his team’s research findings from a clinical perspective.

joyceJoyce Weeland from Holland reported on the ORCHIDS study, an observational randomized control group study evaluating the IY prevention program in Holland. She reported on the differential effects of outcomes in terms of number of sessions attended, SES, family composition, child gender and initial child severity of problems. She discussed mediators and moderator of what works and for whom including some work with genetic markers.

pattyPatty Leijten from Holland presented her research analyses investigating the transportability and effective components of 4 evidence-based parent programs. In particular she looked at ethnic minorities in European studies and found no differential effects by ethnic background, education level, and recruitment method. These factors did not seem to influence intervention effectiveness. She also reported on her current analyses of trying to identify single intervention components (content, delivery, therapist characteristics) on child outcomes.


Merete Aasheim from Norway reported on the results of the IY teacher classroom management program in elementary schools. This paper is in submission for review.

tatianaTatiana Homem and Andreia Azevedo from Portugal presented work from their doctoral dissertation on the impact of father’s involvement in IY groups at 6 months and 12 months post treatment. The enhanced outcomes when fathers are involved in the intervention attests to a need for a “fathers matters” movement.menting

Ankie Menting presented the results of her meta-analyses as well as her work using the IY parent program with incarcerated mothers. See her publications in our Article Library.

maartjeMaartje Raaijmakers from Holland discussed her current research analyses looking at the influence of therapist factors on the effectiveness of the IY parent program. With a data set of 786 families (452 intervention and 334 control) she is assessing the impact of therapist factors such as communication and personality, alliance with parents, and level of experience on parent reports of behavior problems.

stevenStephen Scott presented an overview of many of his studies with IY programs including his 10 year follow-up study and the results of the UK team of pooled samples of RCTs looking at moderator effects. IY seemed to work equally well with disadvantaged families and those with ADHD and emotional problems.

Day #2
Carolyn met with one group of IY mentors to present the Incredible Beginnings program.



Participants seemed eager to bring this program to day care providers and teachers of younger children.

Three other groups met in wonderful rooms to view their workshop and group DVDs. Videos were presented by Micah, Cathy, Line, Jens, Oddbjorn, Kim, Janne, Kari and Peter.


At the end of the day Odd Fynn reviewed for the mentors the important work done by Albert Bandura and Gerry Patterson on social learning theory. This review of observational learning and the coercive process was very helpful in reminding us of the theories that underlie the IY programs.

Day #3
timeoutThe third day started with break out groups discussing the issues related to teaching parents and teachers time out methods. This was followed by further discussion of what is considered “core” time out skills and what is “flexible”. There was so much discussion that the practice exercise has been tabled for a subsequent meeting. Please see a draft of a paper by Carolyn Webster-Stratton.

4-groupsThe rest of the day, 4 groups met to view videos together and to discuss issues related to fidelity of program delivery. Videos were presented by Sue, Barbara, Bethan, Anne, Angela, Maria M, Peter, and Maria F.


At the end of the day groups presented their key points about promoting diversity. One group presented a diversity puzzle which included the ability to listen, ask questions, be aware, be challenged, be curious, not assume, and to tailor and adapt.

The men’s group is expanding and they allowed one woman to promote diversity.


Thanks to everyone in our IY community who made this event such a success!

-IY Seattle Team


Inspire, Innovate, Impact: IY Aotearoa National Forum


New Zealand Inspires the Road Forward Promoting Children’s
Social, Emotional and Educational Outcomes

Incredible Years (IY) Parent Programs

Since 1997 the Incredible Years Parent Programs have been rolled out by The Werry Centre and other NGO’S in New Zealand. During that time 1,367 group leaders have been trained in the IY Parent Program. Of these, 145 have become accredited as group leaders and supported by parent peer coaches.

Children present songs to open forum.jpg

Children present songs to open forum.

Since 2010, the IY Teacher Program has been delivered in New Zealand as part of the Ministry of Education’s wider Positive Behavior for Learning (PB4L). During that time, 581 group leaders were trained in the IY teacher program and 73 in the IY Child Program. Of these, 80 RTLBs and psychologists have become accredited as group leaders. Furthermore, 36 of accredited teacher and parent group leaders have achieved accreditation as peer coaches and 6 as IY mentors (a very extensive and time consuming process!). This phenomenal achievement has occurred because of the collaborative work of the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health and the Werry Centre Parenting Team.

Werry Center Incredible Years Parenting Team with Carolyn  copy.jpg

Werry Center Incredible Years Parenting Team with Carolyn (Center)

Parent Peer Coaches and Mentors copy.jpg

Parent Peer Coaches and Mentors (Not all pictured)

Teacher Peer Coaches copy.jpg

Teacher Peer Coaches and Mentors

Recently a forum was held in Wellington with over 220 parent and teacher group leaders from New Zealand. Keynote speakers included Dr. Russell Wills, Children’s Commissioner and Professor Carolyn Webster-Stratton. Special topics included a focus on Māori Cultural enhancements and how to adapt the IY program with fidelity to be sensitive to family culture. Parents, teachers and principals who have participated in these IY trainings talked about their experiences. Dina, Molly and Wally also participated in several presentations by IY Accredited Mentors!


New Zealand’s Support Infrastructure includes many key people!

Carolyn and Maori Group Leaders.jpg

Group leaders with Carolyn

Maori Group Leaders copy.jpg

Pacific parent group leaders

Inspiring Children  copy

Inspiring children