Cultivating wellbeing by empowering families: Establishing evidence for and impact of the Now and Next Program

Chief Investigator: Associate Professor Peggy Kern
Melbourne Graduate School of Education

Current policies and programs for disability care often rely on reactive, treatment-based, expert provided services. Additional benefit may arise from proactive approaches that place parents at the centre of care.

The ‘Now and Next’ is an evidenced-informed program that fosters empowerment, agency, and wellbeing for the family as a whole. Results to date suggest that parent capacity building can successfully be delivered early in a family’s experience, with high levels of engagement by both mothers and fathers. The program helps parents successfully return to work, and has positive impacts on the health, wellbeing, and trajectory of the child and family.

However, to impact upon disability policy, further evaluation of the immediate impact of the program, consideration of mechanisms, comparison with standard approaches to care, testing of longer-term effects, and examination of sustainability and scalability of the program are needed. This project will launch an inter-disciplinary, collaborative longitudinal impact study, with the intention of informing proactive policies and approaches to early childhood disability care.