Empowering Parents Empowering Communities (EPEC)

EPEC is a community-based program that aims to improve children's development, parenting, family resilience, community support and service access.

Program details

  • Priority area: Wellbeing (social and emotional)
  • Primary audience: Educators, parents/carers
  • Delivery mode: Group training, consultancy
  • Strength of evidence: Level 3 Promising research evidence
  • AEDC sub-domains:
    • Emotional maturity anxious and fearful behaviour
    • Emotional maturity aggressive behaviour
    • Emotional maturity hyperactivity and inattentive behaviour
    • Social competence responsibility and respect
  • Item cost: High (>$2,000 per person/item)

Program description

Empowering Parents Empowering Communities (EPEC) is a community-based prevention and early intervention program to improve:

  • children's social, emotional and behavioural development, language and communication and readiness for school
  • parenting, including parent/carer confidence and knowledge
  • family resilience
  • community and social capital
  • service access and family engagement.

EPEC intervention is facilitated by parents/carers through Being a Parent (BaP) groups. It requires practitioners and services to embrace a culture of practice that includes parents/carers as co-workers, co-reflectors and co-learners in partnership with professional workers. The program brings practitioners and parents/carers together as partners in a culture of shared practice.

Watch this video on the importance of partnering with parents to optimise children’s wellbeing, using EPEC as a case study.

Detailed cost

  • EPEC is currently offered in the Brimbank and Hume regions. The cost of offering BaP groups to local parents/carers in and around the Brimbank and Hume regions: $2,000/parent.
  • Cost of training and supervising local parents/carers to lead BaP in a service: $8,000 for 2 practitioners (minimum of 2 needed).
  • Cost to develop a local EPEC BaP hub (servicing several sites in a coordinated way): about $50,000 over 2 years.

Implementation considerations

Target population: parents/carers.

Program/practice descriptions and details: EPEC parenting and parent facilitator courses can be offered to groups of 8 to 12 parents/carers.

EPEC Hubs organise and provide EPEC parenting courses. The hubs are led by coordinators responsible for:

  • organising EPEC parent courses in accessible locations
  • recruiting and retaining parent group leaders
  • facilitating EPEC Parent Group Leader training
  • observing and supervising EPEC group leaders' practice
  • fostering a supportive and motivating environment
  • providing ongoing learning, development and reflection workshops for parent group leaders
  • managing ongoing EPEC course outcome evaluation and quality assurance reviews.

EPEC uses a peer-led approach, so parents/carers are trained to teach other parents/carers. Each local EPEC site gets training, support and expertise from the national EPEC team, which ensures program fidelity and quality.

Program adaptability: the program was developed in the UK but can be adapted to different local communities. Courses can be offered in different locations depending on the needs of the community.

Factors to consider: educators should ensure a partnership approach with families so that strategies and outcomes for children are consistent between the home and service environment.

Australian experience: EPEC has been implemented in 2 Victorian communities with culturally diverse families: Brimbank and Hume. EPEC is also offered in other parts of Australia. Contact the provider to discuss setting up a new BaP group.

VEYLDF alignment

Item uses these practice principles

  • Partnerships with families
  • Respectful relationships and responsive engagement

Item responds to these sub-outcomes

Children become strong in their social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.