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Nurturing families - A trial of a modified Parent Child Assistance Program in Perth


The Parent-Child Assistance Program (PCAP) supports women with AOD use issues, who are pregnant or have young children and who are not effectively engaged with services. PCAP program attendance reduces AOD use and increases use of family planning therefore decreasing AOD exposed pregnancies, improves child outcomes and helps mothers retain children in their care. Economic modelling showed CAD$22M savings to the Canadian Government over 3 years. A recently completed pilot of the modified PCAP Program (Nurturing Families) has shown significant positive changes for the clients.


Non-judgmental, supportive, home visitation case-management is provided for up to 3 years by trained and experienced counsellors/social workers. Case-managers help women to engage with services effectively to meet their own goals via a combination of relational theory, motivational interviewing and harm reduction concepts. A mixed methods co-designed evaluation will be developed with case-managers, clients, and representative from Government. Process evaluation will follow Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research guidance for complex interventions. Economic cost/benefit will be modelled.


Outcomes for women after 2/3 years will be compared to baseline using an existing composite measure scored in the following domains:

  • utilisation of alcohol/drug treatment
  • AOD use; family planning and subsequent pregnancies
  • health and well-being of the target child
  • attachment between mother and child
  • appropriate connection with community services

This will be supported by further longitudinal data measuring progress, and qualitative interviews, chosen via co-design. Client satisfaction will be measured using the Treatment Perception Questionnaire.


The results from this trial will provide evidence for the efficacy of PCAP to assist high-risk women to meet their goals, identify important implementation and scalability issues and model economic cost savings to government. If successful, PCAP could help prevent adverse outcomes associated with AOD use during pregnancy in high risk pregnancies across Australia.

Read more about Nuturing Families on the Womens Health and Family Services website

Project Partners: Telethon Kids Institute, Womens Health and Family Services

Funded by: FASD Research Australia Centre of Research Excellence

Contact Us

Dr Martyn Symons

08 6319 1672