Programme and practitioner fidelity

Why is this imporant?

The fidelity with which a parenting programme is implemented is crucial. Most evidence-based parenting programmes have a set of ‘key ingredients’ that are essential for ensuring they remain effective. Research repeatedly suggests that parenting programmes are only effective when practitioners work in a way which ensures that these key ingredients are maintained.

Fidelity implies a truthful connection to source material. It is important in both individual and group approaches because, without fidelity, the good outcomes achieved in the literature cannot be achieved. Delivering an intervention with a high level of treatment fidelity not only preserves the behaviour change mechanisms of the intervention, but can also predict parental behaviour change, which itself predicts child behaviour change as a result of treatment. (Eames et al 2009)

It is possible for a practitioner to adapt a programme or approach but still maintain the fidelity of the programme, as long as the practitioner understands the theory of change which the programme uses, and knows which of the “active ingredients” should not be left out.