Active Parenting on Sint Maarten; The feelings of empowerment after participation and the parental needs and barriers to participate.
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The Active Parenting program was introduced by the government of Sint Maarten to enlarge parental involvement. The purpose was to indirectly reduce external problem behavior amongst youth, break the cycle of poverty and empower the community all together. The Department of Education, Research, Policy and Innovation (DERPI) requested an evaluation of the program and recommendations to improve the program’s implementation and to create more support for the program within the society. Field observations were done consisting the observation of nine Active Parenting sessions and conducting informal interviews with parents, teachers, governmental experts and the trainers and leaders of the program. Furthermore parents filled out questionnaires and semi structured interviews were held with parents. The results indicate that parents have feelings of empowerment after the sessions of AP and that those feelings of empowerment make them aware of their needs for parental support. Also there were no direct indications for practical barriers to participate in the program because the program was already offered at different moments and locations. If parents did not participate it was mostly because of unforeseen (family) circumstances or that parents did not see the relevance of the program for their situation. Recommendations are to inform parents and youth care professionals more about the contents and existence of the program. Furthermore to make parents aware of the possibility to use the strategies of the program in wider society.