“Happy Family” is a home based family life education programme for lower income families. It aims to raise participants’ awareness on: (i) financial literacy; (ii) parenting styles; (iii) love languages; and (iv) stress and anger management. It consists of three to four home visits by volunteer befrienders and a two-day-one-night camp. In the eighth and ninth run of the programme, a new component based on Theraplay-based techniques was included to enhance parent-child interactions.
The objectives of this evaluation were (i) if participants had gained, and applied, the knowledge taught in the programme; (ii) how the programme impacted participants’ family relationships; and (iii) strengths and limitations of the programme. Data was collected through a combination of methods, including pre-, (mid-) and post- programme surveys, befrienders’ observations and feedback, face-to-face interviews with participants, and focus group discussions with volunteer befrienders.
The evaluation found that participants had gained and applied the skills taught. For example, being more aware of non-verbal cues (eg. maintaining eye contact) when communicating with their children, and healthier coping strategies when they were stressed emotionally. The participants also appreciated the home visits as they did not have to travel or make child care arrangements. A gap identified from the evaluation was the need to strengthen the programme syllabus so that families with special needs children could be served. The existing syllabus was developed based on the needs of families with typically developing children. It was recommended therefore to limit programme admission to families with typically developing children until a revised syllabus for families with special needs children was ready.