The development of social, emotional and behavioural skills during early childhood is crucial to children's overall development and later life. However, some children experience difficulties that may compromise their development and future opportunities. This rapid evidence review identifies national and international prevention and early intervention programs that are effective at improving the social, emotional and behavioural health of at-risk children under the age of five.

Key points:

  • Parenting programs appear to hold promise in supporting children at risk of experiencing social, emotional or behavioural difficulties. These programs may support families experiencing various risk factors and may be able to be delivered in different formats to suit practitioner and family needs.
  • Programs that support mothers experiencing poor mental health may provide benefits for some child social, emotional or behavioural outcomes.
  • Programs delivered by trained professionals show the greatest chance of effecting change.
  • Identifying the risk factors children experience may help practitioners choose the type of program most suited to the child's situation.
  • Programs appear to be effective through a range of delivery formats including individual or group, in-home or community-based.
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CFCA Paper 62