Parenting for Lifelong Health: A suite of parenting programmes to prevent violence

Logo for PLH Teen

Funded by: Various (including UNICEF, WHO, UBS Optimus Foundation, Ilfa Labantwana)

Project outline

Parenting for Lifelong Health (PLH) is a suite of open access, non-commercialised parenting programmes to prevent violence in low-resource settings. These programmes have been developed and rigorously tested through a collaboration between WHO, Stellenbosch University in South Africa, the University of Cape Town in South Africa, the universities of Oxford and Bangor in the United Kingdom, and UNICEF. Training in the PLH programmes is led by various non-governmental organisations, including Clowns Without Borders South Africa (South Africa), the Prevention Research for Community, Family and Child Health at Stellenbosch University (South Africa) and the Children’s Early Intervention Trust (Wales).

After showing positive results in the evaluations, the programmes are currently being scaled up in over 20 low- and middle-income countries across Sub-Saharan Africa, South-eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, and the Caribbean. Additionally, several studies of the programmes are currently underway to further develop the evidence base for these interventions. These include:

1) PLH-Philippines: an adaptation, feasibility pilot, and randomised controlled trial of PLH for Young Children ages 2 to 6 years and PLH for Teens ages 10 to 18;

2) RISE Prevention of child mental health problems in South-eastern Europe - Adapt, Optimize, Test, and Extend PLH: Multiphase optimisation study of PLH for Young Children ages 2 to 9 years

3) Thailand: An adaptation, feasibility pilot, and randomised controlled trial of PLH for Young Children ages 2 to 9 years within the public health system

4) PLH-SUPER (Scale-Up of Parenting Evaluation Research): a study of the implementation, effectiveness, and scale-up of PLH across several low- and middle-income countries

5) PLH Digital: development and testing of an app-based version of PLH for Teens

6) Furaha Adolescent Implementation Research (FAIR): evaluation of implementation during scale-up of PLH for Teens in Tanzania

7) Harnessing Implementation Science to Maximise the Effectiveness and Policy Impact of Parenting Interventions to Reduce Violence Against Children in Southeast Asia

Completed studies include:

  • Parenting for Lifelong Health – the Sinovuyo Teen Program
  • Reducing abuse and maltreatment of children in high-risk families in South Africa
Researchers and Key Staff
Related publications

General PLH papers

1. Skeen, S., Tomlinson, M., Ward, C. L., Cluver, L., & Lachman, J. M. (2015). Early intervention: A foundation of lifelong violence prevention. South African Crime Quarterly, 51, 5-8. doi:10.4314/sacq.v51i1.1

2. Parra-Cardona, R., Leijten, P., Lachman, J. M., Mej¨Ēa, A., Baumann, A. A., Buenabad, N. G. A., ... & Ward, C. L. (2018). Strengthening a culture of prevention in low-and middle-income countries: Balancing scientific expectations and contextual realities. Prevention Science, 1-11.

3. Ward, C., Mikton, C., Cluver, L., Cooper, P., Gardner, F., Hutchings, J., ... & Wessels, I. (2014). Parenting for lifelong health: from South Africa to other low-and middle-income countries. Early Childhood Matters, 122.

4. Mejia, A., Leijten, P., Lachman, J. M., & Parra-Cardona, J. R. (2016). Different strokes for different folks? Contrasting approaches to cultural adaptation of parenting interventions. Prevention Science. doi:10.1007/s11121-016-0671-2


PLH for Young Children

1.Lachman, J. M., Sherr, L., Cluver, L., Ward, C. L., Hutchings, J., & Gardner, F. (2016). Integrating evidence and context to develop a parenting program for low-income families in South Africa. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 25(7), 2337-2352. doi:10.1007/s10826-016-0389-6

2. Lachman, J. M., Kelly, J., Cluver, L., Ward, C. L., Hutchings, J., & Gardner, F. (2018). Process evaluation of a parenting program for low-income families in South Africa. Research on Social Work Practice, 28(2), 188-202.

3. Lachman, J. M., Cluver, L., Ward, C. L., Hutchings, J., Mlotshwa, S., Wessels, I., & Gardner, F. (2017). Randomized controlled trial of a parenting program to reduce the risk of child maltreatment in South Africa. Child abuse & neglect, 72, 338-351.

4. Wessels, I., Lester, S., & Ward, C. (2016). Engagement in parenting programmes: Exploring facilitators of and barriers to participation. Institute for Security Studies: Policy Brief #82

5. Alampay, L. P., Lachman, J. M., Landoy, B. V., Madrid, B. J., Ward, C. L., Hutchings, J., ... & Gardner, F. (2018). Preventing Child Maltreatment in Low and Middle-Income Countries: Parenting for Lifelong Health in the Philippines. In Developmental Science and Sustainable Development Goals for Children and Youth(pp. 277-293). Springer, Cham.

6. Frantz, I., Foran, H. M., Lachman, J. M., Jansen, E., Hutchings, J., Băban, A., . . . Ward, C. L. (2019). Prevention of child mental health problems in Southeastern Europe: a multicentre sequential study to adapt, optimise and test the parenting programme ‘Parenting for Lifelong Health for Young Children’, protocol for stage 1, the feasibility study. BMJ Open, 9(1). 


PLH for Teens

1. Doubt, J., Loening-Voysey, H., Blanc, D., Cluver, L., Byrne, J., Petersen, T., & Unicef. (2018). Delivering a parenting programme in rural South Africa: The local child and youth care worker experience.

2. Shenderovich, Y., Eisner, M., Cluver, L., Doubt, J., Berezin, M., Majokweni, S., & Murray, A. L. (2018). What affects attendance and engagement in a parenting program in South Africa? Prevention Science, 19, 977-986.

3. Steinert, J. I., Cluver, L. D., Meinck, F., Doubt, J., & Vollmer, S. (2018). Household economic strengthening through financial and psychosocial programming: Evidence from a field experiment in South Africa. Journal of Development Economics, 134, 443-466.

4. Romero, R. H., Hall, J., Cluver, L., & Meinck, F. (2018). Can supportive parenting protect against school delay amongst violence-exposed adolescents in South Africa? Child Abuse & Neglect, 78, 31-45.

5. Cluver, L., Meinck, F., Steinert, J., Shenderovich, Y., Doubt, J., et al. (2018). Parenting for Lifelong Health: A pragmatic cluster randomised controlled trial of a non-commercialised parenting programme for adolescents and their families in South Africa. BMJ Global Health, 3 (1) e000539; DOI: 10.1136/bmjgh-2017-000539.

6. Doubt, J., Bray, R., Loening-Voysey, H., Cluver, L., Byrne, J., Nzima, D., ... & Medley, S. (2017). " It Has Changed": Understanding change in a parenting program in South Africa. Annals of Global Health, 83(5-6), 767-776.

7. Sherr, L., Macedo, A., Tomlinson, M., Skeen, S., & Cluver, L. (2017). Could cash and good parenting affect child cognitive development? A cross-sectional study in South Africa and Malawi. BMC Pediatrics, 17: 123

8. Cluver, L., Meinck, F., Yakubovich, A., Doubt, J., et al (2016). Reducing child abuse amongst adolescents in low- and middle-income countries: A pre-post trial in South Africa. BMC Public Health, 13, 567.

9. Cluver, L., Lachman, J., Ward, C. L., Gardner, F., Peterson, T., Hutchings, J., Mikton, C., Meinck, F., Tsoanyane, S., et al. (2016) Development of a parenting support programme to prevent abuse of adolescents in South Africa: findings from a pilot pre-post study. Research on Social Work Practice, 27. 10.1177/1049731516628647

10. Cluver, L., Meinck, F., Shenderovich, Y., Ward, C., Herrero Romero, R., Redfern, A., Lombard, C., Doubt, J., Steinert, J., Catanho, R., Wittesaele, C., De Stone, S., Salah, N., Mpimpilashe, P., Lachman, J., Loening, H., Gardner, F., Blanc, D., Nocuza, M., & Lechowicz, M (2016). A parenting programme to prevent abuse of adolescents in South Africa: A study protocol for a pragmatic cluster randomized controlled trial. Trials, 17, 328.